Google Has Been Testing how Sitelinks Show up on Brand

The test displays four enhanced sitelinks with a smaller font size used in the links.

Google adwords

Over the past month or so, Google has been testing how sitelinks show up on brand queries on desktop search results.

The test is on enhanced sitelinks, which include a line of description copy with each link and appear only on brand queries on desktop. Typically, these appear in two columns below the ad as shown in this “Patagonia” example.

Google is now testing a list format for enhanced sitelinks. The link font is smaller, but taken together, the list of four enhanced sitelinks takes up more real estate than the column format.


This week, Frederik Hyldig, head of PPC at s360, spotted the same treatment on a search for “Nike” in Denmark.


The list brings the desktop format more in line with mobile, where sitelinks on brand results typically show in a list, though without the enhanced description copy.

I find the list format easier to scan than the two columns. If other users respond the same way and click-through rates improve over the columns, we can expect to see this test roll out.


Source Url:

Google Instant Would Kill SEO

Google Instant Would Kill SEO

Yesterday, I broke the news that Google Instant has been disabled and Google no longer will show you search results as you type. Google Instant launched in September 2010 as was coined the future of the search results page.

It basically showed you search results as you typed in an instant. It was really really big news back then. In fact, I saw it coming, predicted Google Instant and I had about 5 seconds of air time with Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News to discuss it.

Many folks said Google Instant would kill SEO. Well, several years later, SEO is still around. Many people said it would hurt AdWords advertisers, nope.

Now Google is killing it because they want to align desktop search more with mobile. I am not sure why mobile search can’t do Google Instant but hey, that is what Google said. Here is their statement:

We launched Google Instant back in 2010 with the goal to provide users with the information they need as quickly as possible, even as they typed their searches on desktop devices. Since then, many more of our searches happen on mobile, with very different input and interaction and screen constraints. With this in mind, we have decided to remove Google Instant, so we can focus on ways to make Search even faster and more fluid on all devices.

There is a large thread at Google Webmaster Help but the truth is, I do NOT see massive complaints like you would normally see with core changes to web search. I guess most searchers simply do not notice it.

The issue also is that SEOs and search marketers use to use it for keyword research and now Google is showing only three suggestions.

There is a lot of chatter around this change and don’t get me wrong, this is a big change – big one. But fundamentally, I think going away from Google Instant makes sense for Google.


Source URL:

The Benefits of Using Marketing Automation

A Beginner's Guide to Marketing Automation

To say marketing automation is a complex subject is putting it mildly. On the surface it seems simple enough, but once you get just a little bit deeper into it, it’s overwhelming. Even if you work with marketing automation on a daily basis, it can be hard to describe.

When used correctly, marketing automation can be useful in helping sales and marketing teams do their jobs more effectively so they can reach their goals. But there are also a lot of misunderstandings about what marketing automation is and isn’t. Let’s try to get a better understanding of what marketing automation is and how it can potentially help a business.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is the use of software to deliver personalized messages to customers and leads. The software allows you to create a dynamic series of messages to send to your contacts. The message a person receives is decided by factors you specify, like what their spending habits are, where they are in the buying process, and past interactions they’ve had with your site.

Delivering content that’s tailored to a person’s needs and interests helps build stronger relationships which, in turn, can help increase conversions and revenue. Marketing automation can help you accomplish all these things while streamlining your operations at the same time.

In the broad scope of things, marketing automation incorporates several different aspects of marketing and business development, including email marketing, content development, conversion rate optimization, and lead generation.

The benefits of using marketing automation

By far, one of the biggest benefits of marketing automation is that it helps sales and marketing teams work more efficiently. People love personalized content; sending out personalized emails generates six times more revenue than sending non-personalized emails. But manually sending out customized messages to contacts simply isn’t practical. Marketing automation platforms handle the mundane and repetitive work that goes into delivering personalized content, giving sales and marketing professionals more time to focus on things that are more interesting and challenging.

Not only does marketing automation make it easier to deliver messages, it makes it easier to figure out where people are in the conversion process. Marketing automation programs typically have a lead scoring feature which helps users quickly identify which leads are the most sales-ready.

One of the most common reasons why businesses consider using marketing automation in the first place is because they want to improve their conversion rates and revenues. Marketing automation is a way to encourage customers to stay engaged longer, making it more likely they’ll stick around long enough to convert. On average, companies that use marketing automation have 53% higher conversion rates and an annual revenue growth rate 3.1% higher compared to companies that don’t.

For products and services with longer conversion cycles, marketing automation can also help speed up the process. In one example cited by VentureHarbour, Thomson Reuters was able to reduce their conversion time by 72% by using marketing automation software.

What applications are there for marketing automation?

While marketing automation has several different applications, email messaging and lead generation/nurturing are among the most common.

Yes, email is still relevant as a marketing tool. While it’s easy to say things like “Everybody’s on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram,” it’s simply not true. However, most Internet users do have at least one email address. Email inboxes also tend to move at a slower pace than social media feeds, giving you the best chance at making a direct connection with your contacts. There’s a multitude of ways marketing automation can be used with email:

  • Welcome messages
  • Product retargeting
  • Abandoned cart reminders
  • Personalized product recommendations

And that’s just to name a few.

Many companies use marketing automation to solicit feedback from their contacts, regardless if they’ve converted or not. Whether it’s by sending out surveys or asking people to send comments directly to them, the information they garner can be extremely valuable in guiding changes that will help improve their revenues in the long run.

Given that personalized emails generate so much more revenue than non-personalized emails, marketing automation can be an effective way to nurture your leads. According to Marketo, about 50% of leads in any system are not ready to buy and nearly 80% of all new leads will never become sales. With marketing automation, the goal is to give people something of value when they need it most so that they’re more likely to convert. Effective lead nurturing generates 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost. Nurtured leads also tend to make larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.

Marketing automation platforms are also often commonly used to manage social media campaigns, create landing pages, and conduct ongoing A/B testing.

B2B vs. B2C marketing automation

Businesses of all sizes can potentially benefit from marketing automation, but whether a business has a B2B or B2C model is going to have an impact on the type of messaging used in their campaigns. While both types of businesses would have the main goals of improving conversions and revenue, there are differences in how they’ll reach that goal.

B2B sales

B2B sales tend to have longer conversion cycles than B2C sales and often involve products or services that require a more long-term commitment. (Of course, there are some exceptions.) Because of this, B2B messaging has a greater emphasis on long-form content like whitepapers, case studies, and e-books. When major purchases are being considered for a business, multiple people are often involved in the decision-making process, so it’s not always a matter of winning over one person like it is with B2C sales. It’s important for the business with something to sell to establish themselves as an authority in their industry — offering in-depth informational content is a great way to do that.

B2C sales

Since B2C sales move at a faster pace, the content used in their messaging is typically much simpler. For example, Sephora customers aren’t going to be interested in long case studies about a product, but they might appreciate a 30-second video demonstrating how to use a product instead. For B2C companies, the focus tends to be more on brand building and giving customers reasons to come back, so their messaging typically includes things like abandoned shopping cart reminders, personalized product recommendations, and offers tailored to specific types of customers.

Key concepts

Although many different aspects of marketing and business development come together in marketing automation, the whole process is ultimately driven by a few core concepts.

Conversion funnels

A conversion funnel is the process a person takes toward becoming a customer. Now that it’s so easy to find product reviews and shop around, a lot of people don’t just buy things from the first place they see it for sale. Marketing automation is a way to keep people engaged so they’re more likely to convert.

The conversion funnel can be broken down into a few basic stages:

  • Awareness: The customer initially becomes aware of a company, product, or service. It’s too soon for a person to want to make any decisions, but a business has made its way onto their radar.
  • Interest: Not everyone who is aware of a business/product/service is going to have a need for it. At this point, those who are interested will start becoming more engaged by doing things like requesting a quote, signing up for a free trial, following a business on social media, looking for reviews, or reading blog posts and other content on a company’s site.
  • Consideration: By now, a person is familiar enough with a business to know they like what’s being offered. They’re not quite ready to make a decision, but a business is in the running.
  • Action: This is the point where a person decides to convert. You’ve won them over and they’re ready to do business with you.

Ideally, after a person converts once, they’ll be so happy with their decision that they become a repeat customer. But as people move through the conversion funnel, whether they do it once or several times, some of them will always drop out at each level. On average, only 1–5 % of people who enter a conversion funnel actually convert. When people drop out, it’s known as churn, and while some churn is inevitable, marketing automation can help reduce it. By understanding the needs and interests of people at each stage of the conversion funnel, you’re better able to keep them engaged by providing them with the type of content they’re most interested in.

For example, let’s say a company installs vinyl windows and they advertise heavily in the local media. At any given time, a large percentage of the thousands of people who see their ads won’t take any action after seeing one because they either don’t need new windows or because they live in a rental property. No amount of additional messaging will win those people over. But since replacing windows can be very expensive, the people who actually do need them typically spend time doing research to make sure they choose the right type of window and get the best price. If this company were to send additional information about vinyl windows to the people who contact them to get an estimate, they may be able to convince more people to convert.

Feedback loops and metrics

One of the basic laws of physics is that for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. A very similar concept also applies in the world of marketing automation, and it’s known as a feedback loop. When you send a message to a person, the recipient will have some kind of reaction to it, even if that reaction is to do nothing at all. That reaction is part of your feedback loop and you’ll need to pay attention to your metrics to get an idea of what those reactions are.

Feedback loops and metrics are a reflection of how effective your marketing automation strategy is. Whether a person converts, clicks through to your site, ignores the message, flags it as spam, or unsubscribes from your list, that tells you something about how the recipient felt about your message.

When you look at your metrics, you’ll ideally want to see high open rates, clickthrough rates, and maybe even some forwards, since those are signs your content is engaging, valuable, and not annoying to your contacts. Some unsubscribes and abuse reports are inevitable, especially since a lot of people get confused about the difference between the two. But don’t ignore those metrics just because they’re not what you want to see. An increasing number of either could be a sign your strategy is too aggressive and needs to be reworked.

User flow

While conversion funnels refer to the process taken toward converting, user flow refers to the series of pages a person visits before taking an action.

When you have traffic coming to your site from different sources like PPC ads, social media, and email messages, you want to direct users to pages that will make it easy for them to take the action you want them to take, whether it’s buying something, signing up for a free trial, or joining an email list.

You also have to keep in mind that people often have different needs depending on how they arrive at a page, so you’ll want to do your best to make sure people are being taken to a page that would appeal to them. For example, if a person is directly taken to a product page after doing a search for a long-tail keyword, that’s fine since they’re clearly looking for something specific and are more likely to be ready to convert. But someone who clicks on a PPC ad and fills out a form on a landing page is probably going to want more information before they make any decisions, so it’s not time to give them a hard sell.


Workflows are where the automation part of marketing automation comes into play. Your workflow is the series of triggers you create to deliver messages. Creating a workflow involves taking yourself through the entire process and asking yourself, “If this happens, what should happen next?”

Workflows can consist of many different triggers, such as how long it’s been since a person has taken an action, interactions you’ve had with a person, or actions they’ve previously taken on your site. Some types of workflows commonly used by retailers include sending discount codes to customers who haven’t made any purchases in a while, reminding people to review products after they’ve had some time to enjoy their purchase, and sending reminders to people who have recently added items to their cart without actually making a purchase.

Important steps in creating a marketing automation strategy

1. Define your goals

This might seem like an obvious point to make, but before you do anything else, you need to decide exactly what you want marketing automation to help you achieve so you can plan your strategy accordingly. Are you trying to generate more leads? Working to build up business from return customers? Trying to boost sales during an off season? Each of those goals is going to require a different strategy, so it’s important to understand exactly what your main objectives are.

2. Identify who to target

Of course it’s important to understand the needs of your customers at all points of the conversion process. But depending on what your main goals are, your time and energy may be best spent focusing on people who are at a specific point of the process. For instance, if you’re not really having a problem with lead generation but you want more people to convert, your time and energy would be better spent focusing on the middle and lower parts of the conversion funnel.

3. Map user flows

By using marketing automation, you’re trying to get people to take some kind of action. Mapping user flow is a way to visualize the steps people need to go through to be able to take that action.

Depending on the way a person arrives at your site, some people might need more information than others before they’re willing to take that action. You don’t want to make people go through more steps than are necessary to do something, but you don’t want to hit people with a hard sell too soon, either. By using state diagrams to map user flows, as recommended by Peep Laja of ConversionXL, you’ll see exactly how people are arriving at a page and how many steps it takes for them to take the desired action.

4. Segment and rate your leads

It’s important to remember that not all leads are necessarily equal in terms of quality. Your database of contacts is inevitably going to be a mix of people who are on the verge of buying, people who are still researching their options, and people who probably won’t convert, so it’s not possible to create broad messages that will somehow appeal to all of those types of people. Rating your leads helps you figure out exactly who needs further nurturing and who is ready to be handed over to a sales team.

The interactions a person has had with your content and the actions they’ve taken on your site can be a reflection of how ready they are to convert. A person who has viewed a pricing page is most likely going to be closer to buying than someone who has simply read a blog post on a site. A person who has visited a site multiple times over the course of a few weeks is clearly more interested than someone who has only visited once or twice in the past year. Marketing automation software lets you assign values to certain actions and interactions so that it can calculate a score for that lead.

Marketing automation also lets you segment your database of contacts to a very high degree so you can deliver messages to very specific types of people. For example, when working with a B2B business, a marketer might want to target messages to people with certain job titles who work at businesses of a certain size. With B2C sales, a retailer might want to segment their lists to give special offers to people who have spent a certain amount of money with the company or send product recommendations to people who live in certain locations.

Building and maintaining a contact database

There’s no easy way around it: Building a high-quality database of contacts takes time. Marketing automation should come into play once you already have a fairly sizeable database of contacts to work with, but you will need to keep adding new names to that database on a regular basis.

One of the most effective ways to build a database of highly qualified contacts is by creating informative content. Blog content is great for providing high-level information, and it helps businesses build trust and establish themselves as an authority in their field. On the other hand, things like whitepapers and e-books are best for attracting people who want more in-depth information on a subject and are more inclined to be interested in what a business is offering, which is why those types of content are usually gated. With gated content, a person’s contact information is essentially the price of accessing the content.

For businesses that offer a service, free trials are an excellent way to get contact information since the people who sign up for them are obviously interested in what’s being offered.

Just say “no” to purchased lists

Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to buy a list of contacts. Purchased lists may give you a quick boost up front, but they’ll work against you in the long run.

First of all, high-quality lists of contacts aren’t for sale. The kinds of lists you can buy or rent are typically full of invalid and abandoned email addresses. Even if a person actually does see your message, they likely either won’t be interested or will be skeptical about doing business with a company they’re not familiar with.

If you were to start sending messages to a list full of contacts of questionable quality, you’ll most likely end up with high bounce rates, lots of unsubscriptions, low open rates, and a whole lot of abuse reports. Email service providers pay attention to those sorts of metrics and if they start seeing them on a regular basis, they’ll view you as a spammer, which will only make it harder for you to get your message to more qualified leads once you have them.

Best practices for marketing automation messaging

Get to the point

Make your point quickly and make it clear. We all have a limited amount of time each day and one thing people have little patience for is long messages. People just want to know what’s in it for them. How would your product or service solve their problem? What’s unique about what you’re offering?

Keep it active

By implementing marketing automation strategies, you’re trying to keep people engaged. Therefore, your messages should be written in an active tone and encourage recipients to take some kind of action, whether it’s downloading a whitepaper, reading a blog post, watching a video, or making a purchase.

Remember where people are in the process

Don’t forget that some types of content will be more appealing than others depending on where a person is in the conversion funnel. People who are just starting to learn more about a company or product are not going to be happy if they get hit with a hard sell, but highly promotional content could potentially be effective on someone further down in the conversion funnel.

Avoid looking spammy

When used correctly, marketing automation is not spam — we’ll talk more about why that is in just a little bit. But don’t give your contacts the wrong impression. Certain things will always look spammy, such as typing in all capital letters, overusing the color red, and using too many links in the body of the message. If you’re going to use symbols in your subject lines or messages, don’t use too many of them. Avoid using words known to trigger spam filters.

If you’re unfamiliar with the CAN-SPAM Act, take some time to learn about what it means for your campaign. Subject lines need to be accurate and not misleading. Companies that send marketing messages through email need to provide a physical mailing address. (PO box addresses are allowed.) You also need to provide an unsubscribe option in all messages and make sure all opt-out requests are honored as soon as possible.

Hone your list

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to contact lists. One of the key goals for marketing automation is to get your message to precisely the right people. Pay close attention to your metrics so you know who your most qualified leads are and get rid of the ones who aren’t responding anymore. You’re better off with a smaller list of highly qualified leads than with a large list of contacts who don’t care. If it’s been months since a person last opened a message from you, just remove them from your list and focus more on the leads who are more interested.

Misconceptions about marketing automation

It’s impersonal

When done correctly, marketing automation can and should feel personal. In all fairness, it’s easy to understand how people get the wrong impression here — after all, the word “automation” is usually associated with things like computerization and robots. But for a marketing automation strategy to be successful, there needs to be a human touch behind it. Marketing automation simply makes it easier for you to get your message out there. It’s up to you to come up with content that will appeal to people and to create the strategy for getting it out there.

It’s spam

We all know how obnoxious spam is — marketers included. Marketers also understand how ineffective it is. While spam is an unsolicited message promoting something irrelevant to the vast majority of its recipients, the goal of marketing automation is to deliver highly relevant messages to users who clearly express an interest in it.

Unlike spam, marketing automation also frequently involves non-promotional content. Marketing automation messages absolutely can be promotional in nature, but ultimately, the goal is to foster positive relationships by offering something of value — and that doesn’t always involve a hard sell.

You can set it and forget it

This is another case where the word “automation” can give the wrong impression. When you think of something being automated, it’s easy to think you can just set it up, sit back, and let it run on its own. In reality, marketing automation is anything but a hands-off process. Marketing automation needs constant attention and refinement to make sure it’s as successful as possible. Many people use the A/B testing functionality of marketing automation software to run ongoing tests to see which sorts of content, subject lines, design variations, and CTAs people best respond to.

It’s just email marketing

Email is a significant part of marketing automation, but marketing automation isn’t just a new name for email marketing.

First of all, the types of messages involved in basic email marketing and marketing automation are distinctly different. When most people think of email marketing, they’re thinking of broad email blasts that go out to an entire list of contacts, but that’s just what you’re trying to avoid doing with marketing automation. Marketing automation messages are much more fine-tuned to a user’s interests and needs. Although basic email marketing programs do allow for some list segmentation, marketing automation programs allow you to get much more hyper-segmented.

Basic email marketing and marketing automation programs also offer different functionality and insights. While regular email marketing platforms give some basic information about how people interact with your message, marketing automation programs offer more measurable, in-depth insights.

While marketing automation offers a lot of benefits, it’s not going to be an ideal solution for all businesses. For some types of businesses, basic email marketing is all they really need. Studies have shown that marketers often feel like marketing automation software isn’t worth the investment, but many marketers also fail to use it to its full potential or businesses try using it before they have a large enough database of contacts to truly make it worthwhile. Before using marketing automation, the key things to consider are whether or not you have the time and resources to dedicate to training on the software so they can use it to its full potential.


Source Url:

Here are 5 steps for marketing your knowledge online and build important relationships for you

our knowledge and experience is your biggest asset. That’s what defines your business and that’s what helps you stand out. How to effectively market your knowledge online? Of course, content marketing is the answer. But simply creating expert content is not going to be answer. You need to put it forward in front of niche influencers to spread the word.

Here are 5 steps to marketing your knowledge online and making sure your content builds those important relationships for you:

Step 1: Begin planning with your audience (and publishers!) in mind

You are going to be speaking directly to your target demographic, the people you want to keep bringing back for more. Being vague and general just won’t do. Would this post be effective if I was talking to anyone with an internet connection? Of course not! It is for people who want to reach others with their content.

Ask yourself a few questions as you plan out what you are going to create:

  1. Who is it you are speaking to?
  2. What interests them?
  3. What problems do they often face?
  4. How would they be enriched by your content?
  5. Is anything trending in that, or related, industries?
  6. Which questions are they asking?
  7. What do they like to share?

This will take some research, but a fair amount you will know already. You are involved in the niche that interests them, after all. You can ask the same questions to yourself and get a decent idea of what to create.

Bookmark these:

  • To analyze your audience: Analytics for Content Marketing the Right Way (All three parts)
  • To analyze influencers and publishers you are connected to: 5 Tools to Research the Demographics of Your Twitter Followers

Tools to Research the Demographics of Your Twitter Followers

Step 2: Cover topics that others don’t

If you are very lucky, one of your content ideas is going to both be highly intriguing to your audience, and not have been covered a thousand times by other creators. If you aren’t lucky (and you probably won’t be), there will already be a lot out there… making your piece potentially redundant.

Rather than just following the usual script, start taking note of what you can offer that no one else can. If you don’t have anything new, relevant or helpful to lend to the conversation, you should discard the idea. At least for the moment… if you come up with something new in the future, you can write it then.

This is a frustrating process, and you will find quite a few of your ideas being thrown in the scrap heap. But it is worth it for that smaller list of topics or titles that you can really add something to. Just by keeping the quality high, you will be connecting in a more real way to your audience than through a dozen mediocre pieces.

Bookmark these:

  • Here are some ideas on how to keep your ideas to keep coming
  • Here’s the tool to help with keyword research

tool to help with keyword research

Step 3: Re-package Content into Different Formats

By now you should already know the value of varying your content through several forms of media. For example, you can recycle a blog post by turning it into a slideshow, an infographic, or a video. That is just content marketing 101, and something that everyone should be doing to expand their reach.

The problem many content creators run into is not carefully considering the format before they start. As in, not what it can be recycled into, but what it is originally. Bloggers are especially guilty of this, going immediately to the bread and butter of an article when something could be better explained in, say, a graph, or even a recorded podcast.

Your goal should be to find what really reaches and connects with your audience, for any given topic. Other forms of media can also generate a further link, like when they hear your voice, or when a comic makes them laugh.

How you present content can be critical in building a relationship with your viewer.

Bookmark these:

  • 5 Ways to Repackage Content Into Media
  • Content Re-Packaging 101: The Benefits and Tactics
  • How to Repurpose Videos into Many Forms of Useful Content

Re-package Content into Different Formats

Step 4: Put Everything Together into an Online Course

These days we publish a lot of content online and thanks to repackaging we also produce lots of content in various formats (visual, audio, video, etc.). It only makes sense to try and consolidate all these efforts into on huge content asset which we can monetize and/or use to further establish our brand as a knowledge hub.

Creating an online course is a great way to put all your content together into something epic. You can use videos as lessons and attach pdf books and infographics as bonus downloads. You can keep updating your course for as long as you blog on any topic keeping your students constantly engaged. Tools like Kajabi make putting these mega resources together incredibly easy.

Christopher Cumby is a great example: Through his course he offers a free ebook, consulting and even live challenge helping to further engage the students.

Online Course

Step 5: Plan the outreach hook while planning the content

What will your pitch consist of? How will it manage to trigger interest? Is there anything newsworthy or linkworthy in the content you’ll be sharing with media outlets?

How can I make my content noteworthy right now?

Creating an eBook, for example, is a great way to base your outreach on (See step 4 above!). An eBook is a great asset to mention in the pitch. It makes a great asset to promote in blogging communities and platforms.

Varied types of content greatly increase your marketing channels and outreach opportunities.

Furthermore, investing in assets helps you long-term, because they attract natural links and build loyalty. Here are a few good examples!


It takes time and effort, and most importantly a lot of trial and error. Not every content asset is going to bring leads and connections but if you keep experimenting and measuring, you’ll be able to market your expertise successfully and turn your brand into the niche knowledge hub.


Source Url:

Six Useful Tips From Experts To Develop A Multi-Stream Content Creation Strategy

These days we are inundated with so much content that sometimes it may seem like your brand or business will never be able to cut through the noise. While digital media interaction is at an all time high (Facebook users share over 2 millions pieces of content a minute) so is digital media consumption.

According to Hubspot, content consumption has dramatically increased across the three most popular social networks in the last two years: Facebook (+57% increase), Twitter (25% increase), and LinkedIn (21% increase).

Hubspot portal

Consumers are engaging with digital media but there is a ton of noise to cut through to try to reach your audience. Content created now has to be loud, strong and have enough legs to make a big impact long after it is published.

So how do you market a piece of content to ensure that:

1) Your audience sees it

2) Your audience engages with it

You switch from a per diem or single-stream content creation/marketing strategy to a multi-stream one. Sounds simple, right? The common misconception in digital publishing is that once you create a single content piece (blog, EBook, landing page) you promote that single asset, and your work is done. You schedule it in your social calendar. You promote it to your email list, but that is it.

With multi-stream content marketing, the piece itself is designed to be multi-faceted and engineered with marketing in mind. In turn, it does the work for you. Well, sort of.

multi stream content strategy

Multi-Stream Content Creation

At IPR, we think of multi-stream content creation much like a licensing deal. You have a hit album but you also want to license the tracks for use in TV shows, the artist’s likeness for merchandising and so on and so forth. Never is a piece of content simply singular, or a record deal just about music for that matter.

From the outset, when we brainstorm content ideas we are also thinking about how can we extend this beyond its intended location and execution.

  • What social assets can come from this?
  • Can specific emails be created to bolster and support this content?
  • What about mobile-friendly assets?

Multi-stream content marketing isn’t the same as multi-channel, though they do overlap. Multi-stream looks at all of the related and supporting content materials a brand can create to market and promote the main content piece. These pieces can be and most likely are multi-channel, but they do not have to be.

Here are six ways you can develop a multi-stream content creation strategy.

6 Ways to Do Multi-Stream Content Creation

1. Micro Data Visualization

Micro Data Visualization

When compiling research and information to build out data visualizations and infographics, there is a large opportunity to create micro content. By design, data-driven content conveys important information to users and dissecting this content can get stats and details across easier to users. Think of the most comprehensive content you have and then think how you can syndicate it and create unique, standalone content to extend across social media, email and for use in other content creation projects.

According to Mass Planner, infographics are “liked” and shared on social media 3X more than any other type of content. When developing a full infographic or a data viz, bake in micro content including snippets of the full piece or reworked versions to syndicate.

2. Supporting Content

content creation

The great thing about content creation is that the world is truly your oyster and there are no real limits (resource and budgetary restrictions notwithstanding) to what you can do. When developing a content marketing activation – an interactive, quiz or guide – there are lots of options for creating supporting content to drive engagement on the main activation.

While shareable results for a quiz are a functional requirement, they can also be standalone content that you syndicate out through social to drive engagement. How about obscuring some of the quiz information to tease the results or create a guide for dealing with your result? If your activation is a B2B Ebook, supporting content can include blog posts, custom imagery and infographics.

3. Custom Imagery

While imagery – whether graphic or photography based – is a standard and must-have in all manners of content, many marketers look past it in terms of it being a standalone asset. Poor imagery, we’ve got your back. While images often need context there is a lot creatives can do with images to syndicate or extend an initial piece of content.

According to Brain Rules, when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.

All of the images that are included in your content are owned assets that you

can and should syndicate out. For visual mediums like Instagram and Pinterest, custom imagery is great to promote content as well as provide unique content to your audience to share.

4. Multi-Media Content

Multi-Media Content

In 2016, KPCB, a growth accelerator company, projected that by 2017 video would represent nearly 74% of all internet traffic and according to a Hubspot study, 43% of consumers wanted to see more video content. Video and podcasting is hitting hard and engaging users more than articles and blog posts.

While text content will always be needed, more businesses are turning to video content and fitting it into their larger content strategy. While solely creating multimedia content can be expensive or not operationally feasible, leveraging video to extend larger content campaigns or as the tentpole content piece can help engage users on all content fronts.

If your company has a primary video asset, say a commercial or a major product launch, a multi-stream content marketing strategy can include promotion on YouTube, Facebook and owned properties in addition to shorter cuts of the main video to syndicate across these channels and others. If you have a copy based Q&A or interview content, a podcast is the perfect complement that can help you reach audiences that the standard article cannot. And the podcasts can eventually be consolidated into a separate audio section of your website.

5. User-Generated Content

User-Generated Content

User-generated content. We love you, we love you not. Consumers are engaging with brands and products more than ever and in the world where everyone is a content creator, this presents a tremendous opportunity for brands to tap into another stream of content. Olapic surveyed consumers of all ages to determine how they viewed and interacted with UGC on social media, and they found that 76% of those surveyed thought UGC was more trustworthy than branded content.

So if users trust UGC and your customers are creating it, why not leverage it as a complement to product launches, product pages and content experiences? The benefit of UGC is that it isn’t resource-intensive and with a few permissions you can leverage beautiful write-ups and images and support the consumers that support your business.

6. Mobile-Friendly Assets

Mobile-Friendly Assets

We’re living in a mobile world and that means we as marketers must think beyond our desktop – and I’d venture to say think mobile first. According to Hubspot, consumption of digital media on mobile devices has climbed from 18 minutes per day in 2008 to nearly 3 hours in 2015. What does this mean for multi-stream content. If you have a quiz or interactive experience, what features or functions can you make with mobile in mind?

digital media mobile device

For your Ebook, is the text and paragraph copy concise enough to consume on mobile? Or better yet, how about implement a slideshow, scrolling effect for easy consumption and individual sharing. Are the images or graphics comprehensible for mobile or will they be lost on different devices?

It’s a “Multi” World, We’re Just Creating In It

In our multi-screen, multi-channel world, thinking about content from a syndication standpoint can make content marketing a more streamlined and simplistic endeavor. From the ideation phase, you are thinking about all the ways your audience will encounter and meet your content. By breaking up a larger, individual piece into smaller, targeted pieces of content you can ensure that:

  1. Your content meets your audience where they are
  2. It engages them in the way they like to be engaged.


Source Url:

The Concept of the ever-changing Landscape of SEO



Recently I made the shift to freelancing full-time, and it’s led me to participate in a few online communities for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners. I’ve noticed a trend in the way many of them talk about SEO; specifically, the blocks they face in attempting to “do SEO” for their businesses. Again and again, the concept that “SEO is too hard to stay on top of… it’s always changing” was being stated as a major reason that people feel a) overwhelmed by SEO; b) intimidated by SEO; and c) uninformed about SEO.

And it’s not just non-SEOs who use this phrase. The concept of “the ever-changing landscape of SEO” is common within SEO circles as well. In fact, I’ve almost certainly used this phrase myself.

But is it actually true?

To answer that question, we have to separate the theory of search engine optimization from the various tactics which we as SEO professionals spend so much time debating and testing. The more that I work with smaller businesses and individuals, the clearer it becomes to me that although the technology is always evolving and developing, and tactics (particularly those that attempt to trick Google rather than follow their guidelines) do need to adapt fairly rapidly, there are certain fundamentals of SEO that change very little over time, and which a non-specialist can easily understand.

The unchanging fundamentals of SEO

Google’s algorithm is based on an academia-inspired model of categorization and citations, which utilizes keywords as a way to decipher the topic of a page, and links from other sites (known as “backlinks”) to determine the relative authority of that site. Their method and technology keeps getting more sophisticated over time, but the principles have remained the same.

So what are these basic principles?

It comes down to answering the following questions:

  1. Can the search engine find your content? (Crawlability)
  2. How should the search engine organize and prioritize this content? (Site structure)
  3. What is your content about? (Keywords)
  4. How does the search engine know that your content provides trustworthy information about this topic? (Backlinks)

If your website is set up to help Google and other search engines answer these 4 questions, you will have covered the basic fundamentals of search engine optimization.

There is a lot more that you can do to optimize in all of these areas and beyond, but for businesses that are just starting out and/or on a tight budget, these are the baseline concepts you’ll need to know.


You could have the best content in the world, but it won’t drive any search traffic if the search engines can’t find it. This means that the crawlability of your site is one of the most important factors in ensuring a solid SEO foundation.

In order to find your content and rank it in the search results, a search engine needs to be able to:

  1. Access the content (at least the pages that you want to rank)
  2. Read the content

This is primarily a technical task, although it is related to having a good site structure (the next core area). You may need to adapt the code, and/or use an SEO plugin if your site runs on WordPress.

For more in-depth guides to technical SEO and crawlability, check out the following posts:

  • Find Your Site’s Biggest Technical Flaws in 60 Minutes – Moz blog
  • SEO Tools to Analyze Your Site Like Google Does – Hubspot blog
  • What Web Dev Taught Me About SEO – Distilled blog

Site structure

In addition to making sure that your content is accessible and crawlable, it’s also important to help search engines understand the hierarchy and relative importance of that content. It can be tempting to think that every page is equally important to rank, but failing to structure your site in a hierarchical way often dilutes the impact of your “money” pages. Instead, you should think about what the most important pages are, and structure the rest of your site around these.

When Google and other search engine crawlers visit a site, they attempt to navigate to the homepage; then click on every link. Googlebot assumes that the pages it sees the most are the most important pages. So when you can reach a page with a single click from the homepage, or when it is linked to on every page (for example, in a top or side navigation bar, or a site footer section), Googlebot will see those pages more, and will therefore consider them to be more important. For less important pages, you’ll still need to link to them from somewhere for search engines to be able to see them, but you don’t need to emphasize them quite as frequently or keep them as close to the homepage.

The main question to ask is: Can search engines tell what your most important pages are, just by looking at the structure of your website? Google’s goal is to to save users steps, so the easier you make it for them to find and prioritize your content, the more they’ll like it.

For more in-depth guides to good site structure, check out the following posts:

  • Information Architecture for SEO – Moz (Whiteboard Friday)
  • How to Create a Site Structure That Will Enhance SEO – Kissmetrics blog
  • How to Create a Site Structure Google Will Love – Wordtracker
  • The SEO Benefits of Developing a Solid Site Structure – Search Engine Land


Once the content you create is accessible to crawlers, the next step is to make sure that you’re giving the search engines an accurate picture of what that content is about, to help them understand which search queries your pages would be relevant to. This is where keywords come into the mix.

We use keywords to tell the search engine what each page is about, so that they can rank our content for queries which are most relevant to our website. You might hear advice to use your keywords over and over again on a page in order to rank well. The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t always create a great experience for users, and over time Google has stopped ranking pages which it perceives as being a poor user experience.

Instead, what Google is looking for in terms of keyword usage is that you:

  1. Answer the questions that real people actually have about your topic
  2. Use the terminology that real people (specifically, your target audience) actually use to refer to your topic
  3. Use the term in the way that Google thinks real people use it (this is often referred to as “user intent” or “searcher intent”).

You should only ever target one primary keyword (or phrase) per page. You can include “secondary” keywords, which are related to the primary keyword directly (think category vs subcategory). I sometimes see people attempting to target too many topics with a single page, in an effort to widen the net. But it is better to separate these out so that there’s a different page for each different angle on the topic.

The easiest way to think about this is in physical terms. Search engines’ methods are roughly based on the concept of library card catalogs, and so we can imagine that Google is categorizing pages in a similar way to a library using the Dewey decimal system to categorize books. You might have a book categorized as Romance, subcategory Gothic Romance; but you wouldn’t be able to categorize it as Romance and also Horror, even though it might be related to both topics. You can’t have the same physical book on 2 different shelves in 2 different sections of the library. Keyword targeting works the same way: 1 primary topic per page.

For more in-depth guides to keyword research and keyword targeting, check out the following posts:

  • More than Keywords: 7 Concepts of Advanced On-Page SEO – Moz blog
  • Keyword Research in 2016: Going Beyond Guesswork – Moz blog
  • Guide to Keyword Research – Backlinko
  • Complete Guide to Keyword Research for SEO – SearchEngineWatch


Another longstanding ranking factor is the number of links from other sites to your content, known as backlinks.

It’s not enough for you to say that you’re the expert in something, if no one else sees it that way. If you were looking for a new doctor, you wouldn’t just go with the guy who says “I’m the world’s best doctor.” But if a trusted friend told you that they loved their doctor and that they thought you’d like her too, you’d almost certainly make an appointment.

When other websites link to your site, it helps to answer the question: “Do other people see you as a trustworthy resource?” Google wants to provide correct and complete information to people’s queries. The more trusted your content is by others, the more that indicates the value of that information and your authority as an expert.

When Google looks at a site’s backlinks, they are effectively doing the same thing that humans do when they read reviews and testimonials to decide which product to buy, which movie to see, or which restaurant to go to for dinner. If you haven’t worked with a product or business, other people’s reviews point you to what’s good and what’s not. In Google’s case, a link from another site serves as a vote of confidence for your content.

That being said, not all backlinks are treated equally when it comes to boosting your site’s rankings. They are weighted differently according to how Google perceives the quality and authority of the site that’s doing the linking. This can feel a little confusing, but when you think about it in the context of a recommendation, it becomes a lot easier to understand whether the backlinks your site is collecting are useful or not. After all, think about the last time you saw a movie. How did you choose what to see? Maybe you checked well-known critics’ reviews, checked Rotten Tomatoes, asked friends’ opinions, looked at Netflix’s suggestions list, or saw acquaintances posting about the film on social media.

When it comes to making a decision, who do you trust? As humans, we tend to use an (often unconscious) hierarchy of trust:

  1. Personalized recommendation: Close friends who know me well are most likely to recommend something I’ll like;
  2. Expert recommendation: Professional reviewers who are authorities on the art of film are likely to have a useful opinion, although it may not always totally match my personal taste;
  3. Popular recommendation: If a high percentage of random people liked the movie, this might mean it has a wide appeal and will likely be a good experience for me as well;
  4. Negative association: If someone is raving about a movie on social media and I know that they’re a terrible human with terrible taste… well, in the absence of other positive signals, that fact might actually influence me not to see the movie.

To bring this back to SEO, you can think about backlinks as the SEO version of reviews. And the same hierarchy comes into play.

  1. Personalized/contextual recommendation: For local businesses or niche markets, very specific websites like a local city’s tourism site, local business directory or very in-depth, niche fan site might be the equivalent of the “best friend recommendation”. They may not be an expert in what everyone likes, but they definitely know what works for you as an individual and in some cases, that’s more valuable.
  2. Expert recommendation: Well-known sites with a lot of inherent trust, like the BBC or Harvard University, are like the established movie critics. Broadly speaking they are the most trustworthy, but possibly lacking the context for a specific person’s needs. In the absence of a highly targeted type of content or service, these will be your strongest links.
  3. Popular recommendation: All things being equal, a lot of backlinks from a lot of different sites is seen as a signal that the content is relevant and useful.
  4. Negative association: Links that are placed via spam tactics, that you buy in bulk, or that sit on sites that look like garbage, are the website equivalent of that terrible person whose recommendation actually turns you off the movie.

If a site collects too many links from poor-quality sites, it could look like those links were bought, rather than “earned” recommendations (similar to businesses paying people to write positive reviews). Google views the buying of links as a dishonest practice, and a way of gaming their system, and therefore if they believe that you are doing this intentionally it may trigger a penalty. Even if they don’t cause a penalty, you won’t gain any real value from poor quality links, so they’re certainly not something to aim for. Because of this, some people become very risk-averse about backlinks, even the ones that came to them naturally. But as long as you are getting links from other trustworthy sources, and these high quality links make up a substantially higher percentage of your total, having a handful of lower quality sites linking to you shouldn’t prevent you from benefiting from the high quality ones.

For more in-depth guides to backlinks, check out the following posts:

Theory of Links

  • All Links are Not Created Equal: 10 Illustrations on Search Engines’ Valuation of Links – Moz blog
  • What Links Comply with Google’s Guidelines – Moz (Whiteboard Friday)

Getting More Links

  • What Is Linkbuilding? – Moz (Beginner’s Guide to SEO)
  • High-Value Tactics, Future-Proof Link Building – Moz (Whiteboard Friday)
  • How to Create Content That Keeps Earning Links (Even After You Stop Promoting It) – Moz blog
  • Targeted Link Building in 2016 – Moz (Whiteboard Friday)
  • 7 Easy Local Link Building Tactics – Whitespark blog
  • Guide to Linkbuilding – Backlinko

Mitigating Risk of Links

  • Step-by-step Guide to a Manual Backlinks Audit – Search Engine Land
  • Link Audit Guide for Effective Link Removals & Risk Mitigation – Moz blog
  • How to Conduct a Backlink Audit in 45 Minutes – Neil Patel

Does anything about SEO actually change?

If SEO is really this simple, why do people talk about how it changes all the time? This is where we have to separate the theory of SEO from the tactics we use as SEO professionals to grow traffic and optimize for better rankings.

The fundamentals that we’ve covered here — crawlability, keywords, backlinks, and site structure — are the theory of SEO. But when it comes to actually making it work, you need to use tactics to optimize these areas. And this is where we see a lot of changes happening on a regular basis, because Google and the other search engines are constantly tweaking the way the algorithm understands and utilizes information from those four main areas in determining how a site’s content should rank on a results page.

The important thing to know is that, although the tactics which people use will change all the time, the goal for the search engine is always the same: to provide searchers with the information they need, as quickly and easily as possible. That means that whatever tactics and strategies you choose to pursue, the important thing is that they enable you to optimize for your main keywords, structure your site clearly, keep your site accessible, and get more backlinks from more sites, while still keeping the quality of the site and the backlinks high.

The quality test (EAT)

Because Google’s goal is to provide high-quality results, the changes that they make to the algorithm are designed to improve their ability to identify the highest quality content possible. Therefore, when tactics stop working (or worse, backfire and incur penalties), it is usually related to the fact that these tactics didn’t create high-quality outputs.

Like the fundamentals of SEO theory which we’ve already covered, the criteria that Google uses to determine whether a website or page is good quality haven’t changed all that much since the beginning. They’ve just gotten better at enforcing them. This means that you can use these criteria as a “sniff test” when considering whether a tactic is likely to be a sustainable approach long-term.

Google themselves refer to these criteria in their Search Quality Rating Guidelines with the acronym EAT, which stands for:

  • Expertise
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness

In order to be viewed as high-quality content (on your own site) or a high-quality link (from another site to your site), the content needs to tick at least one of these boxes.


Does this content answer a question people have? Is it a *good* answer? Do you have a more in-depth degree of knowledge about this topic than most people?

This is why you will see people talk about Google penalizing “thin” content — that just refers to content which isn’t really worth having on its own page, because it doesn’t provide any real value to the reader.


Are you someone who is respected and cited by others who know something about this topic?

This is where the value of backlinks can come in. One way to demonstrate that you are an authority on a topic is if Google sees a lot of other reputable sources referring to your content as a source or resource.


Are you a reputable person or business? Can you be trusted to take good care of your users and their information?

Because trustworthiness is a factor in determining a site’s quality, Google has compiled a list of indicators which might mean a site is untrustworthy or spammy. These include things like a high proportion of ads to regular content, behavior that forces or manipulates users into taking actions they didn’t want to take, hiding some content and only showing it to search engines to manipulate rankings, not using a secure platform to take payment information, etc.

It’s always the same end goal

Yes, SEO can be technical, and yes, it can change rapidly. But at the end of the day, what doesn’t change is the end goal. Google and the other search engines make money through advertising, and in order to get more users to see (and click on) their ads, they have to provide a great user experience. Therefore, their goal is always going to be to give the searchers the best information they can, as easily as they can, so that people will keep using their service.

As long as you understand this, the theory of SEO is pretty straightforward. It’s just about making it easy for Google to answer these questions:

  1. What is your site about?
    1. What information does it provide?
    2. What service or function does it provide?
  2. How do we know that you’ll provide the best answer or product or service for our users’ needs?
  3. Does your content demonstrate Expertise, Authoritativeness, and/or Trustworthiness (EAT)?

This is why the fundamentals have changed so little, despite the fact that the industry, technology and tactics have transformed rapidly over time.

A brief caveat

My goal with this post is not to provide step-by-step instruction in how to “do SEO,” but rather to demystify the basic theory for those who find the topic too overwhelming to know where to start, or who believe that it’s too complicated to understand without years of study. With this goal in mind, I am intentionally taking a simplified and high-level perspective. This is not to dismiss the importance of an SEO expert in driving strategy and continuing to develop and maximize value from the search channel. My hope is that those business owners and entrepreneurs who currently feel overwhelmed by this topic can gain a better grasp on the way SEO works, and a greater confidence and ease in approaching their search strategy going forward.

I have provided a few in-depth resources for each of the key areas — but you will likely want to hire a specialist or consultant to assist with analysis and implementation (certainly if you want to develop your search strategy beyond simply the “table stakes” as Rand calls it, you will need a more nuanced understanding of the topic than I can provide in a single blog post).

At the end of the day, the ideas behind SEO are actually pretty simple — it’s the execution that can be more complex or simply time-consuming. That’s why it’s important to understand that theory — so that you can be more informed if and when you do decide to partner with someone who is offering that expertise. As long as you understand the basic concepts and end goal, you’ll be able to go into that process with confidence. Good luck!


Source Url:

Google Metrics Reporting in the Search Analytics Tool


It’s not a bug, it is a new feature, says Google, referring to the change in some of the metrics reporting in the Search Analytics tool.

Google has informed us that they have updated how they measure the metrics they report in Google Search Console’s Search Analytics report specifically for search results in lower positions. Google updated the data anomalies page to say that this change started on July 14, 2017, and goes forward from there.

It reads:

An incremental improvement in Google’s logging system now provides better accounting for results in lower positions. This change might cause increase in impressions, but also a decrease in average positions. This change only effects [sic] Search Console reporting, not your actual performance on Google Search.

This came up yesterday when we reported that many webmasters were noticing changes in the average position metric starting after July 13.

This is not a bug, as we previously thought; it is, however, a feature change in how Google measures the data in the lower positions.

Google is clear to say that no actual ranking changes have occurred specifically around this report, but rather it is how Google accounts for those positions in the Search Analytics report.

Source Url:

Spam Review Monitoring

Review scale

It’s 105 degrees outside my office right now, and the only thing hotter in this summer of 2017 is the local SEO industry’s discussion of review spam. It’s become increasingly clear that major review sites represent an irresistible temptation to spammers, highlighting systemic platform weaknesses and the critical need for review monitoring that scales.

Just as every local brand, large and small, has had to adjust to the reality of reviews’ substantial impact on modern consumer behavior, competitive businesses must now prepare themselves to manage the facts of fraudulent sentiment. Equip your team and clients with this article, which will cover every aspect of review spam and includes a handy list for reporting fake reviews to major platforms.

What is review spam?

A false review is one that misrepresents either the relationship of the reviewer to the business, misrepresents the nature of the interaction the reviewer had with the business, or breaks a guideline. Examples:

  • The reviewer is actually a competitor of the business he is reviewing; he’s writing the review to hurt a competitor and help himself
  • The reviewer is actually the owner, an employee, or a marketer of the business he is reviewing; he’s falsifying a review to manipulate public opinion via fictitious positive sentiment
  • The reviewer never had a transaction with the business he is reviewing; he’s pretending he’s a customer in order to help/hurt the business
  • The reviewer had a transaction, but is lying about the details of it; he’s trying to hurt the company by misrepresenting facts for some gain of his own
  • The reviewer received an incentive to write the review, monetary or otherwise; his sentiment stems from a form of reward and is therefore biased
  • The reviewer violates any of the guidelines on the platform on which he’s writing his review; this could include personal attacks, hate speech or advertising

All of the above practices are forbidden by the major review platforms and should result in the review being reported and removed.

What isn’t review spam?

A review is not spam if:

  • It’s left directly by a genuine customer who experienced a transaction
  • It represents the facts of a transaction with reasonable, though subjective, accuracy
  • It adheres to the policies of the platform on which it’s published

Reviews that contain negative (but accurate) consumer sentiment shouldn’t be viewed as spam. For example, it may be embarrassing to a brand to see a consumer complain that an order was filled incorrectly, that an item was cold, that a tab was miscalculated or that a table was dirty, but if the customer is correctly cataloging his negative experience, then his review isn’t a misrepresentation.

There’s some inherent complexity here, as the brand and the consumer can differ widely in their beliefs about how satisfying a transaction may have been. A restaurant franchise may believe that its meals are priced fairly, but a consumer can label them as too expensive. Negative sentiment can be subjective, so unless the reviewer is deliberately misrepresenting facts and the business can prove it, it’s not useful to report this type of review as spam as it’s unlikely to be removed.

Why do individuals and businesses write spam reviews?

Unfortunately, the motives can be as unpleasant as they are multitudinous:


There’s the case of the diner who was filmed putting her own hair in her food in hopes of extorting a free meal under threat of negative reviews as a form of blackmail. And then there’s blackmail as a business model, as this unfortunate business reported to the GMB forum after being bulk-spammed with 1-star reviews and then contacted by the spammer with a demand for money to raise the ratings to 5-stars.


The classic case is the former employee of a business venting his frustrations by posing as a customer to leave a highly negative review. There are also numerous instances of unhappy personal relationships leading to fake negative reviews of businesses.

Protest or punishment

Consumer sentiment may sometimes appear en masse as a form of protest against an individual or institution, as the US recently witnessed following the election of President Trump and the ensuing avalanche of spam reviews his various businesses received.

It should be noted here that attempting to shame a business with fake negative reviews can have the (likely undesirable) effect of rewarding it with high local rankings, based on the sheer number of reviews it receives. We saw this outcome in the infamous case of the dentist who made national news and received an onslaught of shaming reviews for killing a lion.

Finally, there is the toxic reviewer, a form of Internet troll who may be an actual customer but whose personality leads them to write abusive or libelous reviews as a matter of course. While these reviews should definitely be reported and removed if they fail to meet guidelines, discussion is open and ongoing in the local SEO industry as to how to manage the reality of consumers of this type.

Ranking manipulation

The total review count of a business (regardless of the sentiment the reviews contain) can positively impact Google’s local pack rankings or the internal rankings of certain review platforms. For the sake of boosting rankings, some businesses owners review themselves, tell their employees to review their employer, offer incentives to others in exchange for reviews, or even engage marketers to hook them up to a network of review spammers.

Public perception manipulation

This is a two-sided coin. A business can either positively review itself or negatively review its competitors in an effort to sway consumer perception. The latter is a particularly prevalent form of review spam, with the GMB forum overflowing with at least 10,000 discussions of this topic. Given that respected surveys indicate that 91% of consumers now read online reviews, 84% trust them as much as personal recommendations and 86% will hesitate to patronize a business with negative reviews, the motives for gaming online sentiment, either positively or negatively, are exceedingly strong.


Expert local SEO, Mike Blumenthal, is currently doing groundbreaking work uncovering a global review spam network that’s responsible for tens or hundreds of thousands of fake reviews. In this scenario, spammers are apparently employed to write reviews of businesses around the world depicting sets of transactions that not even the most jet-setting globetrotter could possibly have experienced. As Mike describes one such reviewer:

“She will, of course, be educated at the mortuary school in Illinois and will have visited a dentist in Austin after having reviewed four other dentists … Oh, and then she will have bought her engagement ring in Israel, and then searched out a private investigator in Kuru, Philippines eight months later to find her missing husband. And all of this has taken place in the period of a year, right?”

The scale of this network makes it clear that review spam has become big business.

Lack of awareness

Not all review spammers are dastardly characters. Some small-timers are only guilty of a lack of awareness of guidelines or a lack of foresight about the potential negative outcomes of fake reviews to their brand. I’ve sometimes heard small local business owners state they had their family review their newly-opened business to “get the ball rolling,” not realizing that they were breaking a guideline and not considering how embarrassing and costly it could prove if consumers or the platform catch on. In this scenario, I try to teach that faking success is not a viable business model — you have to earn it.

Lack of consequences

Unfortunately, some of the most visible and powerful review platforms have become enablers of the review spam industry due to a lack of guideline enforcement. When a platform fails to identify and remove fake reviews, either because of algorithmic weaknesses or insufficient support staffing, spammers are encouraged to run amok in an environment devoid of consequences. For unethical parties, no further justification for manipulating online sentiment is needed than that they can “get away with it.” Ironically, there are consequences to bear for lack of adequate policing, and until they fall on the spammer, they will fall on any platform whose content becomes labeled as untrustworthy in the eyes of consumers.

What is the scope of review spam?

No one knows for sure, but as we’ve seen, the playing field ranges from the single business owner having his family write a couple of reviews on Yelp to the global network employing staff to inundate Google with hundreds of thousands of fake reviews. And, we’ve see two sides to the review spam environment:

  1. People who write reviews to help themselves (in terms of positive rankings, perception, and earnings for themselves either directly from increased visibility or indirectly via extortion, and/or in terms of negative outcomes for competitors).
  2. People who write reviews to hurt others (for the sake of revenge with little or no consequence).

The unifying motive of all forms of review spam is manipulation, creating an unfair and untrustworthy playing field for consumers, enterprises and platforms alike. One Harvard study suggests that 20% of Yelp reviews are fake, but it would be up to the major review platforms to transparently publicize the total number of spam reviews they receive. Just the segment I’ve seen as an individual local SEO has convinced me that review spam has now become an industry, just like “black hat” SEO once did.

How to spot spam reviews

Here are some basic tips:

Strange patterns:

A reviewer’s profile indicates that they’ve been in too many geographic locations at once. Or, they have a habit of giving 1-star reviews to one business and 5-star reviews to its direct competitor. While neither is proof positive of spam, think of these as possible red flags.

Strange language:

Numerous 5-star reviews that fawn on the business owner by name (e.g. “Bill is the greatest man ever to walk the earth”) may be fishy. If adulation seems to be going overboard, pay attention.

Strange timing:

Over the course of a few weeks, a business skyrockets from zero reviews to 30, 50, or 100 of them. Unless an onslaught of sentiment stems from something major happening in the national news, chances are good the company has launched some kind of program. If you suspect spam, you’ll need to research whether the reviews seem natural or could be stemming from some form of compensation.

Strange numbers:

The sheer number of reviews a business has earned seems inconsistent with its geography or industry. Some business models (restaurants) legitimately earn hundreds of reviews each year on a given platform, but others (mortuaries) are unlikely to have the same pattern. If a competitor of yours has 5x as many reviews as seems normal for your geo-industry, it could be a first indicator of spam.

Strange “facts”:

None of your staff can recall that a transaction matching the description in a negative review ever took place, or a transaction can be remembered but the way the reviewer is presenting it is demonstrably false. Example: a guest claims you rudely refused to seat him, but your in-store cam proves that he simply chose not to wait in line like other patrons.

Obvious threats:

If any individual or entity threatens your company with a negative review to extort freebies or money from you, take it seriously and document everything you can.

Obvious guideline violations:

Virtually every major review platform prohibits profane, obscene, and hateful content. If your brand is victimized by this type of attack, definitely report it.

In a nutshell, the first step to spotting review spam is review monitoring. You’ll want to manually check direct competitors for peculiar patterns, and, more importantly, all local businesses must have a schedule for regularly checking their own incoming sentiment. For larger enterprises and multi-location business models, this process must be scaled to minimize manual workloads and cover all bases.

Scaling review management

On an average day, one Moz Local customer with 100 retail locations in the U.S. receives 20 reviews across the various platforms we track. Some are just ratings, but many feature text. Many are very positive. A few contain concerns or complaints that must be quickly addressed to protect reputation/budget by taking action to satisfy and retain an existing customer while proving responsiveness to the general consumer public. Some could turn out to be spam.

Over the course of an average week for this national brand, 100–120 such reviews will come in, totaling up to more than 400 pieces of customer feedback in a month that must be assessed for signs of success at specific locations or emerging quality control issues at others. Parse this out to a year’s time, and this company must be prepared to receive and manage close to 5,000 consumer inputs in the form of reviews and ratings, not just for positive and negative sentiment, but for the purposes of detecting spam.

Spam detection starts with awareness, which can only come from the ability to track and audit a large volume of reviews to identify some of the suspicious hallmarks we’ve covered above. At the multi-location or enterprise level, the solution to this lies in acquiring review monitoring software and putting it in the hands of a designated department or staffer. Using a product like Moz Local, monitoring and detection of questionable reviews can be scaled to meet the needs of even the largest brands.

What should your business do if it has been victimized by review spam?

Once you’ve become reasonably certain that a review or a body of reviews violates the guidelines of a specific platform, it’s time to act. The following list contains links to the policies of 7 dominant review platforms that are applicable to all industries, and also contains tips and links outlining reporting options:



Review reporting tips

Flag the review by mousing over it, clicking the flag symbol that appears and then entering your email address and choosing a radio button. If you’re the owner, use the owner response function to mention that you’ve reported the review to Google for guideline violations. Then, contact GMB support via their Twitter account and/or post your case in the GMB forum to ask for additional help. Cross your fingers!



Review reporting tips

Yelp offers these guidelines for reporting reviews and also advises owners to respond to reviews that violate guidelines. Yelp takes review quality seriously and has set high standards other platforms might do well to follow, in terms of catching spammers and warning the public against bad actors.



Review reporting tips

Here are Facebook’s instructions for reporting reviews that fail to meet community standards. Note that you can only report reviews with text — you can’t report solo ratings. Interestingly, you can turn off reviews on Facebook, but to do so out of fear would be to forego the considerable benefits they can provide.

Yellow Pages


Review reporting tips

In 2016, began showing TripAdvisor reviews alongside internal reviews. If review spam stems from a YP review, click the “Flag” link in the lower right corner of the review and fill out the form to report your reasons for flagging. If the review spam stems from TripAdvisor, you’ll need to deal with them directly and read their extensive guidelines, TripAdvisor states that they screen reviews for quality purposes, but that fake reviews can slip through. If you’re the owner, you can report fraudulent reviews from the Management Center of your TripAdvisor dashboard. Click the “concerned about a review” link and fill out the form. If you’re simply a member of the public, you’ll need to sign into TripAdvisor and click the flag link next to the review to report a concern.



Review reporting tips

The policy I’ve linked to (from Dex Media, which owns SuperPages) is the best I can find. It’s reasonably thorough but somewhat broken. To report a fake review to SuperPages, you’ll need either a SuperPages or Facebook account. Then, click the “flag abuse” link associated with the review and fill out a short form.



Review reporting tips

If you receive a fake review on CitySearch, email In your email, link to the business that has received the spam review, include the date of the review and the name of the reviewer and then cite the guidelines you feel the review violates.



Review reporting tips

The “Rules and Conduct” section I’ve linked to in Foursquare’s TOS outlines their content policy. Foursquare is a bit different in the language they use to describe tips/reviews. They offer these suggestions for reporting abusive tips.

*If you need to find the guidelines and reporting options for an industry-specific review platform like FindLaw or HealthGrades, Phil Rozek’s definitive list will be a good starting point for further research.

Review spam can feel like being stuck between a rock and a hard place

I feel a lot of empathy in this regard. Google, Facebook, Yelp, and other major review platforms have the visibility to drive massive traffic and revenue to your enterprise. That’s the positive side of this equation. But there’s another side — the uneasy side that I believe has its roots in entities like Google originating their local business index via aggregation from third party sources, rather than as a print YellowPages-style, opt-in program, and subsequently failing to adequately support the millions of brands it was then representing to the Internet public.

To this day, there are companies that are stunned to discover that their business is listed on 35 different websites, and being actively reviewed on 5 or 10 of them when the company took no action to initiate this. There’s an understandable feeling of a loss of control that can be particularly difficult for large brands, with their carefully planned quality structures, to adjust to.

This sense of powerlessness is further compounded when the business isn’t just being listed and discussed on platforms it doesn’t control, but is being spammed. I’ve seen business owners on Facebook declaring they’ve decided to disable reviews because they feel so victimized and unsupported after being inundated with suspicious 1-star ratings which Facebook won’t investigate or remove. By doing so, these companies are choosing to forego the considerable benefits reviews drive because meaningful processes for protecting the business aren’t yet available.

These troubling aspects of the highly visible world of reviews can leave owners feeling like they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Their companies will be listed, will be reviewed, and may be spammed whether the brand actively participates or not, and they may or may not be able to get spam removed.

It’s not a reality from which any competitive enterprise can opt-out, so my best advice is to realize that it’s better to opt-in fully, with the understanding that some control is better than none. There are avenues for getting many spam reviews taken down, with the right information and a healthy dose of perseverance. Know, too, that every one of your competitors is in the same boat, riding a rising tide that will hopefully grow to the point of offering real-world support for managing consumer sentiment that impacts bottom-line revenue in such a very real way.

There ought to be a law

While legitimate negative reviews have legal protection under the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016, fraudulent reviews are another matter.

Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Communication Act states:

Unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, are hereby declared unlawful.”

Provisions like these are what allowed the FTC to successfully sue Sage Automotive Group for $3.6 million dollars for deceptive advertising practices and deceptive online reviews, but it’s important to note that this appears to be the first instance in which the FTC has involved themselves in bringing charges on the basis of fraudulent reviews. At this point, it’s simply not reasonable to expect the FTC to step in if your enterprise receives some suspicious reviews, unless your research should uncover a truly major case.

Lawsuits amongst platforms, brands, and consumers, however, are proliferating. Yelp has sued agencies and local businesses over the publication of fake reviews. Companies have sued their competitors over malicious, false sentiment, and they’ve sued their customers with allegations of the same.

Should your enterprise be targeted with spam reviews, some cases may be egregious enough to warrant legal action. In such instances, definitely don’t attempt to have the spam reviews removed by the host platform, as they could provide important evidence. Contact a lawyer before you take a step in any direction, and avoid using the owner response function to take verbal revenge on the person you believe has spammed you, as we now have a precedent in Dietz v. Perez for such cases being declared a draw.

In many scenarios, however, the business may not wish to become involved in a noisy court battle, and seeking removal can be a quieter way to address the problem.

Local enterprises, consumers, and marketers must advocate for themselves

According to one survey, 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business. If some of those 10 reviews are the result of negative spam, the cost to the business is simply too high to ignore, and it’s imperative that owners hold not just spammers, but review platforms, accountable.

Local businesses, consumers, and marketers don’t own review sites, but they do have the power to advocate. A single business could persistently blog about spam it has documented. Multiple businesses could partner up to request a meeting with a specific platform to present pain points. Legitimate consumers could email or call their favorite platforms to explain that they don’t want their volunteer hours writing reviews to be wasted on a website that is failing to police its content. Marketers can thoughtfully raise these issues repeatedly at conferences attended by review platform reps. There is no cause to take an adversarial tone in this, but there is every need for squeaky wheels to highlight the costliness of spam to all parties, advocating for platforms to devote all possible resources to:

  • Increasing the sophistication of algorithmic spam detection
  • Increasing staffing for manual detection
  • Providing real-time support to businesses so that spam can be reported, evaluated and removed as quickly as possible

All of the above could begin to better address the reality of review spam. In the meantime, if your business is being targeted right now, I would suggest using every possible avenue to go public with the problem. Blog, use social media, report the issue on the platform’s forum if it has one. Do anything you can to bring maximum attention to the attack on your brand. I can’t promise results from persistence and publicity, but I’ve seen this method work enough times to recommend it.

Why review platforms must act aggressively to minimize spam

I’ve mentioned the empathy I feel for owners when it comes to review platforms, and I also feel empathy for the platforms, themselves. I’ve gotten the sense, sometimes, that different entities jumped into the review game and have been struggling to handle its emerging complexities as they’ve rolled out in real time. What is a fair and just policy? How can you best automate spam detection? How deeply should a platform be expected to wade into disputes between customers and brands?

With sincere respect for the big job review sites have on their hands, I think it’s important to state:

  • If brands and consumers didn’t exist, neither would review platforms. Businesses and reviewers should be viewed and treated as MVPs.
  • Platforms which fail to offer meaningful support options to business owners are not earning goodwill or a good reputation.
  • The relationship between local businesses and review platforms isn’t an entirely comfortable one. Increasing comfort could turn wary brands into beneficial advocates.
  • Platforms that allow themselves to become inundated with spam will lose consumers’ trust, and then advertisers’ trust. They won’t survive.

Every review platform has a major stake in this game, but, to be perfectly honest, some of them don’t act like it.

Google My Business Forum Top Contributor and expert Local SEO, Joy Hawkins, recently wrote an open letter to Google offering them four actionable tips for improving their handling of their massive review spam problem. It’s a great example of a marketer advocating for her industry, and, of interest, some of Joy’s best advice to Google is taken from Yelp’s own playbook. Yelp may be doing the best of all platforms in combating spam, in that they have very strong filters and place public warnings on the profiles of suspicious reviewers and brands.

What Joy Hawkins, Mike Blumenthal, other industry experts, and local business owners seem to be saying to review platforms could be summed up like this:

“We recognize the power of reviews and appreciate the benefits they provide, but a responsibility comes with setting your platform up as a hub of reputation for millions of businesses. Don’t see spammed reputations as acceptable losses — they represent the livelihoods of real people. If you’re going to trade responsibly in representing us, you’ve got to back your product up with adequate quality controls and adequate support. A fair and trustworthy environment is better for us, better for consumers and better for you.”

Key takeaways for taking control of review spam

  • All local enterprises need to know that review spam is a real problem
  • Its scope ranges from individual spammers to global networks
  • Enterprises must monitor all incoming reviews, and scale this with software where necessary
  • Designated staff must be on the lookout for suspicious patterns
  • All major review platforms have some form of support for reporting spam reviews, but its not always adequate and may not lead to removal
  • Because of this, brands must advocate for better support from review platforms
  • Review platforms need to listen and act, because their stake in game is real

Being the subject of a review spam attack can be a stressful event that I wish no brand ever had to face, but it’s my hope that this article has empowered you to meet a possible challenge with complete information and a smart plan of action.


Source Url:

Bug in the Google Search Console

If your metrics have gone awry since July 13, don’t panic. It may just be a bug.

The Google Search Console seems to have a bug in their Search Analytics report, specifically with the average position metric.

Many webmasters are claiming the average position metric in the search analytics report has taken a sharp dive since July 13. I have seen dozens of screen shots from webmasters showing proof of this decline, and I am able to personally replicate this in most of the Google Search Console profiles I have access to.

Here is a screen shot of the green line significantly dropping down; the green line represents the average position data:

screen shot of the green line significantly dropping down;

So do not panic, many are seeing the same issue. We are trying to get confirmation from Google about this possible bug in the Google Search Console.

Source Url:

How to Measure the SEO Impact of Your Content

Understanding how to write web content for SEO is important. But equally important is knowing how to measure the SEO impact of your content after it’s published. In this article I’ll describe how to use Google Analytics to create reports that evaluate the performance of articles or the writers creating those articles.

Let’s start with some definitions.

What is SEO content?

Search engine optimized content is the strategic process of researching and writing website copy with the goal of maximizing its impact in the SERPs. This requires having a keyword strategy, the ability to conduct competitive analyses, and knowledge of current ranking factors.

If you’re a copywriter, you’ve likely already been asked by your clients to create content “written for SEO.” Translating this into action often means the writer needs to have a greater role in both strategy and research. Words matter in SEO, and spending the time to get them right is a big part of creating content effectively. Adding SEO research and analysis to the process of researching content often fits nicely.

So the question is: How do I measure the effectiveness of my content team?

We go in greater depth on the research and reporting processes during the Moz seminar SEO for Content Writers, but I’ll explain a few useful concepts here.

What should I measure?

Well-defined goals are at the heart of any good digital marketing strategy, whether you’re doing SEO or PPC. Goals will differ by client and I’ve found that part of my role as a digital marketer is to help the client understand how to articulate the business goals into measurable actions taken by visitors on their site.

Ideally, goals have a few essential traits. They should:

  • Have measurable value (revenue, leads generated, event registrations)
  • Be identifiable on the site (PDF downloads, button clicks, confirmation page views)
  • Lead to business growth (part of an online campaign, useful to sales team, etc.)

Broad goals such as “increase organic sessions on site” are rarely specific enough for clients to want to invest in after the first 3–6 months of a relationship.

One tool you can use to measure goals is Google Analytics (GA). The nice part about GA is that almost everyone has an account (even if they don’t know how to use it) and it integrates nicely with almost all major SEO software platforms.

Lay the foundation for your SEO research by taking a free trial of Moz Pro. After you’ve researched your content strategy and competition with Keyword Explorer and Open Site Explorer, you can begin measuring the content you create in Google Analytics.

Let me show you how I set this up.

How to measure SEO content using Google Analytics

Step 1: Review conversion actions on site

As I mentioned before, your SEO goals should tie to a business outcome. We discuss setting up goals, including a worksheet that shows monthly performance, during the Reporting on SEO Bootcamp.

During the launch phase of a new project, locate the on-site actions that contribute to your client’s business and then consider how your content can drive traffic to those pages. Some articles have CTAs pointing to a whitepaper; others may suggest setting up a consultation.

When interviewing your client about these potential conversion locations (contact us page, whitepaper download, etc), ask them about the value of a new customer or lead. For nonprofits, maybe the objective is to increase awareness of events or increase donations. Regardless of the goal, it’s important that you define a value for each conversion before creating goals in Google Analytics.

Step 2: Navigate to the Admin panel in Google Analytics

Once you have goals identified and have settled on an acceptable value for that goal, open up Google Analytics and navigate to the admin panel. At the time of writing this, you can find the Admin panel by clicking on a little gear icon at the bottom-left corner of the screen.

Navigate to the Admin panel in Google Analytics

Step 3: Create a goal (including dollar value)

There are three columns in the Admin view: Account, Property, and View. In the “View” column, you will see a section marked “Goals.”

There are three columns in the Admin view

Once you are in Goals, select “+New Goal.”

I usually select “Custom” rather than the pre-filled templates. It’s up to you. I’d give the Custom option a spin just to familiarize yourself with the selectors.

Now fill out the goal based on the analysis conducted in step #1. One goal should be filled out for each conversion action you’ve identified. The most important factor is filling out a value. This is the dollar amount for this goal.

important factor is filling out a value

The Google description of how to create goals is located here: Create or Edit Goals

Step 4: Create and apply a “Segment” for Organic Traffic

Once you have your goals set up, you’ll want to set up and automate reporting. Since we’re analyzing traffic from search engines, we want to isolate only traffic coming from the Organic Channel.

Organic traffic = people who arrive on your site after clicking on a link from a search engine results page.

An easy way to isolate traffic of a certain type or from a certain source is to create a segment.

Navigate to any Google Analytics page in the reports section. You will see some boxes near the top of the page, one of them labeled “All Users” (assuming segments haven’t been configured in the past).

Select the box that says “All Users” and it will open up a list with checkboxes.

Navigate to any Google Analytics page

Scroll down until you find the checkbox that says “Organic Traffic,” then select and apply that.

Now no matter what reports you look at In Google Analytics, you’ll only be viewing the traffic from search engines.

viewing the traffic from search engines.

Step 5: Review the Google Analytics Landing Page Report

Now that we’ve isolated only traffic from search engines using a Google Analytics Segment, we can view our content performance and assess what is delivering the most favorable metrics. There are several reports you can use, but I prefer the “Landing Pages” report. It shows you the page where a visitor begins their session. If I want to measure blog writers, I want to know whose writing is generating the most traffic for me. The Landing Pages report will help do that.

To get to the Landing Pages report in Google Analytics, select this sequence of subheadings on the left sidebar:

Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages

isolated only traffic from search engines using a Google Analytics Segment

This report will show you, for any period of time, which pages are delivering the most visits. I suggest going deeper and sorting the content by the columns “Pages per session” and “Session Duration.” Identify the articles that are generating the highest average page depth and longest average session duration. Google will see these behaviors and signal that you’re delivering value to your visitors. That is good for SEO.

Step 6: Review the conversion value of your writers

Remember those goals we created? In the far right columns of the Landing Pages report, you will find the value being delivered by each page on your site. This is where you can help answer the question, “Which article topics or writers are consistently delivering the most business value?”

This is where you can help answer the question

If you want to share this report with your team to help increase transparency, I recommend navigating up to the top of the page and, just beneath the name of the report, you’ll see a link called “Email.”

Automate your reporting by setting up an email that delivers either a .csv file or PDF on a monthly basis. It’s super easy and will save you a ton of time.


Source Url:

Panorama Marketing & Media- Top 6 Reasons We are the Best Choice for Small Business Marketing

Web Development

At Panorama Marketing & Media, we understand what small businesses need because we ARE a small business.We are locally owned and operated, not a franchise, so you won’t be paying more for corporate overhead. We realize that you have many choices when it comes to choosing a marketing company. That is why we have created a company that is built around outstanding customer service and proven results. We pride ourselves on delivering the best service we can to our clients.

First, our work is truly our passion! Our marketing team takes the time to get to know your business, your customers, and your goals in order to understand and help grow your business.Each client receives custom strategic direction, recommendations, and plan execution. We put our decades of design, copy, and creative skills to work for you. We are dedicated to serving all of our clients in a direct and highly personalized and professional manner.

  • We understand the market by not just asking you the right questions, but by listening. We get to know you, your business, and your goals.
  • We identify inefficient or needless marketing expenses and define a clear course that applies the most cost-effective strategies for your business goals.
  • Experienced in Design, Development, and Implementation

Our goal is to help small businesses with smart, effective, and affordable marketing strategies in order to not only compete, but to grow as well.  We deliver marketing, media, and advertising strategies that fully showcase your brand, product or services, attract new and existing customers, and achieve your business goals.When you work with Panorama Marketing & Media, you’ll be working with qualified, passionate, and experienced marketers who truly care about your company and your results.

Bing Ads, Facebook Ads and Google Adwords

Second, we are a full-service marketing, media, and advertising agency.From Mobile Sites, Ratings & Reviews, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), E-mail Marketing, Content, Social Media, Pay Per Click (PPC), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and much more- We have an experienced marketing team dedicated to your success! Consolidating your marketing services saves substantial time and money. It ensures a cohesive, effective marketing strategy that employs consistent graphic branding, content, and advertising.  Panorama Marketing & Media provides you with the expertise and resources necessary for you make the best marketing decisions for your small business.

From digital and traditional marketing services to other creative avenues, Panorama Marketing & Media offers a full portfolio of customized, small business internet solutions that can take your business to the next level. We have the research and knowledge to direct you to the best, most cost-efficient marketing platforms to reach your target audience. We only choose the platforms that can best deliver your message and maximize your impact.

Our marketing and design teams are certified experts in their digital marketing area and also certified with Google Adwords and Analytics.  Effective marketing demands executive, managerial, and operational experience in marketing, advertising, and creative services.  Our expertise, skills, and top-notch customer service approach ensures that your marketing goals are met. We are professionals that know how to get the job done!

Search Engine OptimizationThird, we are affordable. Many small business owners often assume that they can’t afford a quality, professional marketing firm to help their business grow. Panorama Marketing and Media offers free, no-obligation marketing consultations; we listen to your challenges and goals, and show you how you will benefit from using a professional marketing service.We know the small business marketplace and we know how to move your website into higher, profitable positions in search engines.Leave the tedious marketing details to us, so you can focus on your business.We create marketing strategies and custom solutions that fit your marketing needs as well as your budget.We make the internet and all of its opportunities available to you, the small business owner in an affordable manner that will provide a return on your investment. You will no longer have to spend time and money on marketing plans that don’t reach new customers and increase revenue.\

Fourth, we offer Website Design for small businesses. More often than not, your website is a potential customer’s first introduction to you and your business. Most customers, even for a small business, are going to research your company online before they pick up a phone to call you. A good, effective, and visually appealing website is the best first step you can take to build trust with your targeted audience.

At Panorama Marketing & Media, we specialize in building new websites for small businesses that look professional, load quickly, and offer the latest functionality and interactivity.An effective website has to clearly state your purpose, be responsive and user-friendly, and work on all devices and screen sizes, from desktops, tablets, laptops, and smart phones as well.

Our highly-skilled team will plan, design, and build your business website using proven techniques. Our marketing team has years of experience developing websites that are very specific to our customer’s needs. We’ll deliver the solutions you need to solidify your internet presence, online marketing, and management objectives.As your marketing and media company we can help redefine and optimize your website, so that it more attractive to your clients, potential clients and Search Engines.

Social Media

Fifth, we are experts in Social Media. Social Media marketing has the potential to be one of the strongest tools in any small business marketing plan, but only if it is done correctly. Without a clear strategy that is built around the business goals you want to achieve, it can lead to poor results with a lot of wasted time and money.

Effective Social Media marketing can build brand loyalty, engage your customers, drive website traffic, and expose your brand or product to new audiences.  Social Media is a growing element that determines whether a website is picked up by the major Search Engines. We know it’s not always easy to establish and maintain a Social Media presence for your small business. You are constantly working on many projects, but your Social Media doesn’t have to be one of them.

Our team will review your existing social platforms, if any, to see how well you are performing in relation to your competitors. We will then create a strategy to improve your performance by scheduling engaging posts that captivate your audience and foster interaction. We use the latest tracking analytics to determine how your accounts are performing and what you can do to improve your results.Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or any another social network, we’ll help you connect and engage with your target audience. We also integrate your Social Media efforts with your SEO, website, and blog marketing strategy to gain even more exposure for your small business.

As your Social Media management experts we are here to create and maintain your social sites across the web.

Sixth, we have an incredible Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy.  This is this important for your small business because it allows your website to be seen by more relevant searchers on the web through search engines like Google. A more relevant audience means a longer time spent on your website, more leads, more conversions, and most importantly, increased sales.

Public RelationsWhen people search for anything on Google, 80-90% of them never go to the second page of the search results! Our search engine optimization (SEO) services guarantee first page rankings. In order to get your business to the top of Google, it takes the right techniques to make your website more user friendly and search engine friendly. No matter how you use your website, it is important to have a good SEO strategy in place that increases organic traffic to your site, ranks for the right keywords, and ultimately generates more leads and sales.

Every small business is unique and must be approached differently. Each SEO campaign starts with our team learning the details of your company, customers, target audience, and competitors. We consider all options before implementing a detailed plan designed specifically for your business.Search terms are tracked and analyzed. We use this information to identify patterns and find opportunities for growth.Your website listing will even show up within maps and local reviews; places customers often look when searching for businesses locally.

Be sure to contact us for a free, no obligation SEO consultation today, and start increasing traffic to your website and increasing sales.

How to PDF Your Data Studio Report

Google Data Studio provides a way to turn god-awful data tables, data puking, and boring charts into beautiful data visualizations. We at Seer really love the product, but, in our use, have recognized it’s missing one key functionality – the ability to PDF your new beautiful creation(s)!

To me, this dilemma is the definition of irony: Google makes an awesome, free tool to create stunning visuals, but makes it difficult to share them without going directly to Data Studio. What gives, Googs? Enough meandering, let’s walk through how to PDF your Data Studio report.

awesome, free tool to create stunning visuals,

TL;DR – Google’s Data Studio doesn’t provide native functionality to export as a PDF, use Google Chrome’s “Save As PDF” functionality to overcome it.

Step 0:

I think it goes without saying, but the first step is to actually create your Data Studio masterpiece.

Step 1:

Head over to Data Studio in Google Chrome. If you’re not using Google Chrome yet, welcome to 2017, download it here. If you can’t download Chrome for whatever reason I found this helpful post on the web that might be able to supply you a solution, but I personally haven’t tried any of them.

Step 2:

Navigate to File > Print (just like any other time you’d like to print!)

Step 3:

In the Print panel popup, find the Destination section and click “Change…”. This will load a new popup where you can select “Save as PDF” under “Local Destinations”.

Print panel popup

Step 4:

Select “Save as PDF” and “Save” back on the initial print popup and viola – you’re done!

The biggest problem with this method is that it only PDFs the page you’re currently on. This is due to the browser having no context around what you’re actually trying to do!

But James, not so fast, what if I have MULTIPLE pages in my Data Studio report?? The best way to get around this is to repeat steps 1 – 4 and then combine the disparate PDF files after you’ve got them. I typically use to do this, but there are many others out there that work.

Source Url:

Here Is A Quick Tips for Doing Search in a Low-Volume

SEO — you know, that thing you do whereby everyone and their mother will find your site on the web. Easy, right? “Can you SEO this page for me?” or “We’re about to launch a webinar. Can you SEO-ify it, please?” I’m sure most of you reading this can probably relate to these types of questions and the ensuing pressure from bosses or clients. If you’re lucky, you work in a realm where there’s plenty of search volume to chase, featured snippets to occupy, and answer boxes to solve. But what about those who work in the low-search volume niches typically seen in B2B, or with companies pioneering a new product or service that no one really knows about yet (so they obviously can’t be searching for it)?

This blog post is for you, the digital marketer who toils and struggles to drive search visibility where there hardly is any. Let’s get to work.

Search, as I’ll refer to it here, includes both paid and organic. Neither of these may ultimately be the best channel for your organization, but after reading this post, hopefully you’ll be able to verify whether your search channels are humming along and working harmoniously, while leaving other sources of user acquisition to bear the brunt of the load. Three topics I will cover in this post are SEO, paid search, and CRO, but please keep in mind: these are not the only possible digital marketing actions that can be done for an organization in a low-search volume niche. This is just a glimpse into what may be possible, and hopefully it can spark inspiration for you or your client in ways you’d either forgotten about or hadn’t thought of. Whether you’re just starting out in digital marketing or you’ve been around for a while, I hope this will be able to provide some direction.

1. SEO

Sometimes I think of SEO as a skyscraper, though this may just be because I’m surrounded by them in Distilled’s New York City office (come join us!). In order to reach greater heights via SEO, you need to make sure the foundation of your building is in order. And what I mean by “foundation” is the technical structure of your site. Things that you’d want to check will include:

  • Is the link profile clean?
  • Does the site have strong internal linking?
    • Do pages get created and then fall into a black hole?
  • Can search engines crawl the site?
    • Are there noindex, robots.txt, canonical, or other tags that hide desired content from being ranked?
  • Has the site been hacked?
  • Are there descriptive and unique title tags and meta descriptions?
  • Is tracking set up properly (i.e. Google Analytics)?
  • Does the site appear trustworthy and authoritative?

Targeting transactional queries

Once the foundation is in order, it’s time to begin the keyword research. Establish which queries are most vital to the organization, how much search volume they have, and which ones are most likely to yield conversions, whatever that means to the organization. With your foundation in order, you can take the most important queries and try to match them to existing pages on the site, such as the homepage and key product/services pages. It may turn out that the queries an organization should be targeting don’t have pages available yet. That’s okay — you’ll just need to create them. I generally recommend that shorter-tail queries (two or three words) be targeted by primarily by product or service pages, with longer queries either handled by those very pages or by a Q&A section and/or a blog. This is just one way to handle a hierarchy and avoids a cluttered navigation with hundreds of long-tail queries and content, though it is by no means a rule.

Targeting higher-funnel queries

Once the key queries have been locked down and the content plan created, we can move on to more informational queries. It’s very likely that these more higher-part-of-the-funnel queries will require content that’s less sales-y and will be more informational, making desired conversions (like consultation signups) less likely from this crowd, at least on the first interaction. You’ll need to build strong content that answers the users’ queries and establishes the organization as thought leaders and experts at all levels of a particular niche.

Let’s say, for example, we’re responsible for driving traffic for an organization that allows people to invest in solar energy. Lots of people buy stocks and bonds and real estate, but how many invest in solar energy or power purchase agreements? Transactional-type queries, those most likely to provide us with customers, don’t get searched all that much.


Now, let’s take a look at some longer-tail queries that are tangentially related to our main offering:

These queries clearly have more search volume, but appear to be more informational. “CSR” (in the above example) most often means “corporate social responsibility,” a term frequently aligned with impact investing, where investments not only are expected to produce financial returns, but have a positive social effect as well. From these queries we’d be able to help provide proof to users and search engines that the organization is indeed an expert in the particular realm of solar energy and investing. Our desired audience may come to us with different initial intents, but we can begin to funnel people down the path towards eventually becoming clients.

As will be discussed further in this post, the point here is to drive traffic organically, even if that very traffic is unlikely to convert. With optimizations to the content, we’ll be able to solicit emails and try to drive visitors further into the funnel, but first we just need to make sure that we’re enhancing our visibility and driving more unpaid traffic.

Key tips:

  • Target transactional queries with pages optimized for the ideal conversion
  • Target informational queries and modify pages to push the user deeper into the funnel towards more transactional pages
    • If a blog is perceived as a waste of resources and useless traffic, it’s probably not being fully leveraged

2. Paid search

Oftentimes, organizations will use SEO and paid search for their user acquisition, but will silo the two channels so that they don’t work together. Simply put, this is a mistake. Using paid spend for Google or Bing Adwords in conjunction with an organization’s SEO efforts will assist the company’s bottom line.

Get your tracking right

When beginning a paid campaign, it’s absolutely vital to set up tracking properly from the beginning. Do not miss this step. Without setting up tracking properly, it will be impossible to tie back conversions to paid and organic and see their relationship. If you already have paid attribution set up, double-check to ensure that there’s no double counting from having multiple GA tracking snippets, or if you’re using a landing page generator like Unbounce or HubSpot, that you’ve added in tracking on those platforms. Sometimes when using landing page generator tools (like HubSpot), you might elect to have an in-line thank you section display instead of redirecting someone to an external link. If you use an in-line thank you, the URL will not change and will make tracking more difficult in Google Analytics. This is not impossible to get around (events tracking can do the trick), but is something to keep in mind.

Bid on your money keywords

Without getting too fancy, a very important next step is to identify the transactional, important keywords — the ones that might be costly to buy, but that are worth the spend. Waiting for results from organic search or for the different channels to successfully harmonize may take longer than a boss or C-suite might be willing to wait for, so getting results directly from traditional paid search will require a strong setup from the get-go.

The magic of RLSA

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs) allow organizations to remarket to specific people who have visited a specific page on their site, either by bidding on keywords one typically wouldn’t bid on, or by altering the bid up or down. This doesn’t create new traffic; it only displays to those who have visited your site in the past. The magic of this is that when done properly, you can potentially achieve lower cost-per-clicks and conversions, as the audience seeing these ads is already familiar with your brand.

Let’s use, for example, the strategy of creating content around “what are alternative investments?” or “how to invest responsibly?”. These would be informational-level queries, representing topics people would like to investigate further. While the ideal scenario for our business would be that everyone would automatically want to invest with us, we know this isn’t likely to be the typical case. Instead, we’ll use organic search to earn traffic from less competitive, informational queries, and use RLSA to bid on queries that would ordinarily be too competitive for us, like “investing” or “how to start investing.” By using pixels and remarketing to anyone who visited our “what are alternative investments” page, we know that the person is more familiar with us and we can try to bid on broader queries that may have been either too expensive for us in the first place, or unlikely to generate conversions. In this case, because the user is already familiar with the brand, it can lead to higher click-through and conversion rates.

Much has already been written about RLSA strategies, so for more information you can begin here:

  • 4 Basic RLSA Strategies You Should Definitely Pursue
  • 3 Crazy-Effective Ideas to Unlock the Full Power of RLSA
  • Remarketing to People That Have Already Visited Your Website – Whiteboard Friday

Advanced remarketing

Another option is to create more informational content for queries that are less competitive than some other terms, but that also isn’t as likely to get people to convert when they visit (i.e. most blog content). Let’s say that our blog captures email addresses, either through forms, popups, or some other means. With our captured emails, we’d be able to build an email list and submit it to Adwords, then target people in Google Search, Gmail, and YouTube. We can target existing users (people aligned with a particular email) or people who are similar to the audience and share similar web habits. With this tool, we can expand our potential audience.

If one were to run broad-match search ads against a general population (not one that had been cookied by a site), it would likely get very expensive very quickly and would be likely to have low conversion rates. Using broad match with RLSAs is a smart approach that mitigates the risk of complete budget destruction from people with little intent to convert, while allowing organizations to see what people are searching for; it can be an extremely powerful tool for keyword discovery.

By using broad search and RLSAs, your organization will be able to find out faster what people are actually searching for. Any keywords that cost money but that aren’t relevant or aren’t converting can be added to a negative keyword filter. Ones that are valuable should be added to exact match and, depending on the keyword, may be worthy of having content developed for it so that traffic can be captured without paying for each individual click.

Key tips:

  • Make sure tracking is properly set up
  • Ensure you’re bidding on transactional queries
  • Landing pages MUST have a clear goal and be optimized for one desired conversion
  • RLSAs can be used for keyword discovery and may enable you to bid on more transactional, generally competitive keywords

3. CRO

It’s not uncommon for organizations operating in low-search volume niches to also have fairly long sales cycles. The endgame of what we’re trying to accomplish here is to drive people from an informational mindset to a transactional mindset. We’re operating under the assumption that there are few searches for the service or good we’re trying to provide, so we’re going to get people to our service or good via the backdoor. The way we’ll do this is by guiding people from content that speaks to an informational query to our conversion pages.

To be clear, getting the ultimate conversion on our site might not require sending someone to a product page. It’s totally possible that someone may be interested in our ultimate goal after having landed on a tangentially-related page.

Let’s use the example again of the solar energy investment company. We’ll say that our ultimate goal is to get people to open an account where they actually invest in a power purchase agreement (PPA). Understanding what a PPA is isn’t important, but what should be conveyed is that getting anyone to actually spend money and link a bank account to the site is not a simple task. There’s friction — people need to trust that they won’t be robbed, that their financial information will be protected, and that their money is actually going where they expect it to go. Knowing that there’s friction in the funnel, we’re likely going to need multiple points of engagement with the potential client and will need to provide information and trust signals along the way to answer their questions.

Hunting microconversions

That said, our first goal should be to optimize and provide high-quality landing pages for the person who searches “solar energy investment.” Once we handle that low-hanging fruit, we need to move on to the tangential queries, like “what are the advantages of solar energy?”. Within this page, we should frame the benefits of solar energy and use multiple call-to-actions or banners to persuade someone to learn more about how to invest in solar energy. It’s totally plausible that someone who searches for “what are the advantages of solar energy?” has no interest in investing whatsoever and will leave the page as soon as their question is deemed answered. It’s also possible that they never even make it to the landing page itself because the Google SERP has answered the question for them:

We can’t be scared of this tactic just because Google is stealing content and placing the information within the search results. Featured snippets still have very high click-through rates (meaning users still visit that content) and we don’t know which queries will trigger featured snippets tomorrow or in six months from now. All we can do is create the best content for users’ queries.

For the visitors who are interested in the potential of solar energy investment, there are several ways that we can keep them engaged:

  1. Email capture popups
    1. This can be done via time-elapsed or exit intent versions
  2. Static or sticky call-to-actions (for products, demos, or email capture) either within the content or adjacent to the text in right or left-hand rails

AMP to accelerate traffic growth

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are one of my favorite SERP enhancements that Google has made in the past few years. As a quick reminder, AMP provide cached, streamlined HTML that makes loading pages on mobile crazy-fast. AMP pages also show a little lightning bolt icon in the SERPs; eventually this will condition users that any page without a lightning bolt will be slow. They don’t allow for interstitials or popups, and even have their own area within search results. Google is heavily investing in this space and is incentivizing publishers to do so as well. Creating AMP variations of your organization’s content can be a strong idea for driving more web traffic, but it can come with some potential pitfalls that you should be aware of.


AMP pages require their own Google Analytics tracking and it does not come standard. If you use a CMS or GTM that automatically places GA tracking code within the head, you will not automatically be covered with AMP pages. Make sure you set up tracking properly.

No popups

I just mentioned that email capture popups are a great way to ensure multiple points of engagement with users who otherwise may have just visited a particular site one time. By capturing emails, you can doing remarketing, send product emails, keep people apprised of updates with your organization, and create similar audiences, among other benefits as well. However, once you create AMP and they begin to replace your m. or responsive pages on mobile within the search results, your popups will no longer appear. While you won’t be able to get the true functionality of popups, a suitable workaround is to add email form capture in-line within your AMP content:

When it comes to CRO for pages that receive organic traffic, it’s not the end of the world if a person doesn’t undertake an action; we’re not paying for them. Just by visiting our page, we can cookie them and remarket to them on search and other paid channels like Facebook and Twitter. We’ve extracted value from our visitors and they don’t even know it.

On the other hand, when a visitor arrives via paid search, we need to be doing everything in our power to make sure that the person undertakes a desired action. That desired action could be providing an email in exchange for a download, scheduling a consultation, purchasing a product, or providing other information. It bears repeating, though: if you’re paying for clicks and have not made a concerted effort to design your landing page in such a way that users are most likely to undertake the desired action, you’re wasting money. I do not claim that there is some sort of silver bullet that will work across every single niche and every single audience for every single product. Using a gated landing page for one client may work best for some, while soliciting user information via a form might work best for another. The only way to know is to test and see how users interact.

Key tips:

  • Some ultimate conversions have a lot of friction; don’t shy away from microconversions
  • If you already get traffic and it “doesn’t convert,” think critically about how it would be possible to re-engage with those users or what they might feel comfortable providing you with at their level of interest
  • AMP pages need separate GA tracking and do not allow popups

Tying it all together

Let’s recap this. When an organization cannot bank on a large enough search volume in its particular niche to provide the necessary runway for growth, it needs to think creatively about how to best harmonize organic and paid search channels. Truthfully, all organizations (regardless of the size of the search volume in their niche) should do this, but it’s particularly important in low-search volume niches because without it, growth is likely to be far slower and smaller than it could be.

For the sake of argument, we assume that the product or service doesn’t have much popularity, so we need to expand into informational queries, the topics that one would search before they know that they could use the service or product.

We need to ensure that we quickly and properly identify the transactional queries in our niche, and build pages that fulfill the intent of the user’s query. These pages should almost always have a call-to-action that allows people to take advantage of their interest immediately.

However, we’re looking for growth, so we need to think even bigger. We need to provide content for the people who are searching for queries that demonstrate some sort of interest in our niche, but don’t necessarily know that they want our service or product. We build out those pages, populating them with content and resources that fulfill the user’s query, but also provide calls-to-action that capture emails and/or drive users further into the funnel. People who don’t realize that they want your product or service may not react well to hard sells and high barriers to entry. Asking for an email address can be far more palatable and keep the conversation going.

If using AMP pages to gain more visibility, make sure that you have properly set up Google Analytics first and have added in email form captures at different points within the content, not just at the end — most of your readers won’t make it there. Depending on what our strategy is, we may also want to begin cookie-ing users for remarketing.

When using paid search, as with organic search, we need to make sure that we’re properly targeting the transactional queries we need — the ones where people are most likely to undertake a desired action. By using RLSAs we can also potentially bid on more generic, short-tail queries that might have yielded low conversion rates if we were to have exposed them to the broader Internet community at large, but could prove very successful if we only show them to people who have visited our site or specific pages. In addition to possibly converting at a higher rate than a regular paid search campaign, RLSAs can serve as a great keyword discovery tool without completely decimating your budget.

In the vast majority of cases, traffic for traffic’s sake is useless. If your traffic doesn’t undertake the actions that you want them to, chances are it will be declared useless and investment into content creation may decrease. I’ve seen it happen. Your traffic does not need to convert via buying a product or scheduling a demo the first time they visit, but if you have microconversions (like email capture) set up, you’ll put yourself in a much better position to re-engage with your visitors, find new similar visitors, and drive more conversions.

One last nugget of wisdom from Distilled’s own Head of PPC, Rich Cotton:

The main benefit of one agency running PPC and SEO is communication; aligning marketing messages, sharing data, keeping a consistent user experience, making lines of communication for the client easier. By ensuring that your PPC and SEO teams are working together, PPC can fill gaps in SERP exposure for organic, test new copy, and share important keyword data that PPC still has control of.

Rather than competing, when drawing up attribution models, an integrated approach allows us to share the value driven and work holistically for the benefit of the client, rather than fight to prove that our channel was the more effective one. Your marketing dollars will go where they are most needed, not be argued over by inter-agency politics.


SEO Business Strategy

Working as an SEO, it’s crucial that you’re ready to embrace changes in the SEO landscape, keep your finger on the pulse of Google’s updates, integrate and evaluate changes through on-site and off-site testing, build outreach campaigns, and all the other required tasks we love so much.

Implementing all of this successfully, though, is easier said than done. How exactly can you make sure that you’re focusing on quality traffic? And how do you even know that this traffic will help your brand grow? In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to pivot your SEO strategy according to the business’ needs.

1. Align your SEO strategy with the business strategy

SimilarWeb, the company I work for, decided to change their go-to-market strategy. Instead of targeting their current audience, their new vision was to target their enterprise audience.

This meant that, instead of targeting a broad audience, the goal is now a specific audience — complete with higher competition and less volume. In other words, it’s quality vs. quantity.

Thus, because our SEO efforts will now be focused on targeting those enterprise users, I need to adjust our SEO strategy accordingly to achieve the required conversions.

2. Work with the strategy/product marketing manager in your organization

Working closely with the product manager will help you generate a list of action items that need to be evaluated to better understand your organization’s long-term goals. Ideally, you should be concentrating on driving factors such as the vision of your company, the competitive landscape, the targeted audience, etc.

In particular, you should focus your marketing energy on researching and analyzing a few different things:

  • Geo – Understand which countries and languages are the most valuable to the product. This can be determined by analyzing the amount of sales, leads, and revenue potential.
  • Industries – The second step will be to define which industries you should focus on; it can be any industry, from e-commerce to insurance and beyond.
  • Audience/persona – Drill deep down into the marketplace to discover who your target audience is and exactly what it is they’re looking for.
  • Come up with a list of keyword groups/themes that you would like to target.
  • Update your knowledge of your competitors, and build a new competitive intelligence report that will not only include your main competitors, but also industry content leaders. This will offer new ideas and help you develop new strategies; there’s a great post by Aleyda about competitive analysis workflows that can help you develop your own.

3. Build new keyword research

After you’ve gathered all this information and you’re aligned with the new strategy of the company, it’s time to come up with a new keyword research strategy.

I would recommend starting with your updated list of competitors. Analyze how much traffic they’re getting and which keywords will be relevant in your new strategy.

My favorite tools for this:

  • SEMrush
  • Moz Keyword Explorer
  • Sistrix
  • SimilarWeb

Here’s example of what that looks like in SimilarWeb Pro; you can see how much traffic the actual websites are getting per keyword, the ratio between organic and paid, the ranking position, and more:


Once you have the list of keywords your competitors are using, it’s vital that you use another keyword tool to generate additional ideas.

Moz Keyword Explorer is my favorite for this; not only does it unearth new angles for your keyword strategies, but it also helps you group these keywords into relevant groups to enhance their accessibility:


Grouping keywords by high lexical similarity

Next, filter all the relevant keywords from the list based on topic, relevancy, and volume.

Segment the keywords based on their probability of getting ranked. In the case of Keyword Explorer, you can do this by analyzing the Opportunity score. Additionally, you can examine the volume of the keywords and see what their current ranking in the SERP is.

Now you have that big, exciting list of keywords organized by groups, volume, and opportunity, it’s time to start keyword mapping to get those keywords into your site pages. Make sure that all your site pages integrate the new keywords into titles, descriptions, H1s, H2s, etc. If you need help with building the keyword/content mapping, you should watch this Whiteboard Friday from Rand.

4. Focus on relevant traffic

In the past, there have been many assumptions made about SEO rankings. The most common assumption: get more traffic to your site and you’ll improve your rankings. However, as I’ll now discuss, good SEO shows us that this is far from the truth.

Improving the quality of your traffic will help improve your rankings

At SimilarWeb, we decided to remove most of the irrelevant traffic to our site (around 40%) from the total SEO traffic.

Here are some reasons that led us to remove low-quality traffic from the index. Irrelevant traffic…

  1. Provides 0% value to the business in terms of leads/sales
  2. Has a high bounce rate
  3. Results in low pageviews per user
  4. Indicates content that’s not relevant to the business. Google’s purpose is to complete the searcher’s task and provide the best result for their query, so if you have content on your site that’s not performing well in terms of ranking, CTR, bounce rate, time on the page, and so on, you should consider rewriting it or removing it from the index.

Totatl SEO traffic

You can see our own results here, which clearly show a significant increase in all the engagement stats:

  • Bounce rate was reduced by 42%
  • Pageviews per session increased by 34%
  • Time on site increased by 65%

Final thoughts

Changes in a company’s strategy can present a fantastic opportunity for SEO managers to review the current status of their SEO efforts. And, by identifying what is and isn’t working, you’ll arm yourself with the knowledge required to build a new strategy which will attract not just traffic, but relevant users who have a higher probability to convert.


Source Url:

Unbelievable Tips to Make Better Facebook Ads Success

Would you like to improve your advertising efforts and make better Facebook Ads?  How about spending less money and getting better results?  Yes, please!

Often I see that people can make just a few tweaks to their campaigns to improve their return on investment.  Sometimes people just aren’t sure where to look or what to test to know if they are getting good results.

In this article, I’ll share 3 quick tips to make better Facebook Ads.

#1 Test at least 2 ads (probably more)

The best way to make better Facebook ads is to test more ads.  We often don’t know what will work best and I’m often guessing wrong as to what people will like.  Testing multiple ads will help you see exactly which ad performs best.

Even by just testing two ads, you’ll have more information than just trying one and thinking that it didn’t work.

But you have to approach your testing systematically.  Don’t change too many things at once or you won’t know which change made the difference in the results.

I typically start with the demographics and see which demographic responds best to the ad (keeping the text and image of the ad the same).  Then I’ll move on to test other things.

You don’t even have to have a big budget with these tests, just $20-50 for each ad over a few days will give you good information.  I talk more about split testing in point #6 of my Top 10 Facebook Advertising FAQs article.


#2 Use the right targeting

If you want to make better Facebook Ads, reaching the right people is key.  Sometimes I see people with targets that are too wide or two narrow.  Targeting anyone who is interested in Business with an ad that is selling your product will probably be a waste of your money.


Getting the right targeting is probably the single-most important part of your ad.

Facebook has a lot of targeting options such as:

  • Lookalike audiences – audiences that are like a custom audience such as email subscribers or website visitors
  • Retargeting – showing your ad only to your website visitors or email subscribers
  • Engagement targeting – targeting people who have interacted with your Facebook Page or Facebook vidoes
  • Targeting by Job Title, income level, behaviors, or targeting the fans of another Facebook Page with an ad

Testing your demographics and targeting is the best way to figure out what audience responds best.

#3 Watch the right stats

The Facebook reports often default to a very basic level of information and if you dive a little deeper you will be able to compare the right stats so you can really know which ad is performing best.


In this example I sorted by CPC to compare which ad in the last 6 weeks was getting the best over all cost per click.

You can change your view of the columns by using the drop-down menu and customizing what you want to see or choosing one of their pre-built reports.  The best one I think is Performance and Clicks.  You can set that as your default view so that you don’t have to always switch back to it.


Bonus tip for Better Facebook Ads:  Have a System

If you want to really save money and headache with your Facebook Ads, you will have a system for researching, developing your ads, testing, and evaluation.  I have a course that can help with that – Facebook Advertising Secrets.

I’ve had hundreds of people take the online course and it walks you through exactly how to set up your ads, evaluate your results, and troubleshoot anything that is not working.  Plus the best part of the course is it comes with one year of access to the private Facebook Group where you can get your questions answered.

Facebook ads are extremely powerful.  But you can waste time and money with techniques that are out of date or just plain bad.  I have recently updated the course and regularly update it a few times per year so that you get the latest tactics that will get you the results you want.


Source Url:


Everything You Need To Know About Google’s Featured Snippets

Googles featured snippets are the new Google authorship, albeit less exciting because featured snippets steal links from publishers in SERPs.

Whether you like them or not, that’s the change we have to deal with because if you are not featured, your competitor will.

Here are three recent studies of Google’s Featured snippets you need to be aware of:

1. Ahrefs Study of Featured Snippets

Read the full study here: Ahrefs

Ahrefs have examines 112 million keywords in their US database, almost around 14 million of which had featured snippets in their SERP. In other words, about 12.29% of search queries have featured snippets in their search results

They have found that, surprisingly, featured snippets have lower click-through-rate than the top result (where there’s no featured snippet) but they do steal clicks from the top result:

Key takeaways:

  • All pages which are featured already rank in top 10 for that query, however…
  • Google doesn’t seem to be featuring “the strongest” page in the top10 (in terms of backlinks). Instead, they tend to pick the page that answers the question best
  • If Google likes a page, it would feature it in LOTS of snippets: The top-performing page in the database owns 4,658 featured snippets with Wikipedia being the absolute leader in the amount of featured snippets it owns.
  • The top 30 most frequently met words among the search queries that trigger featured snippets

2. A.J. Ghergich’s Study of Featured Snippets @Moz

Read the full study hereMoz by A.J. Ghergich

Ghergich & Co. teamed up with SEMrush to conduct an in-depth study on featured snippets. SEMrush generously compiled and shared 1,400,000 featured snippets from their database for us to analyze.

The optimal length of a featured snippet paragraph is about 40 to 50 words(~around 300 characters).

What it means is that, for higher chances to get featured, aim at answering teh question within 40-50 words.

There’s no need to limit your lists or tables though:

The average number of items in a list was four, but that number is not what we should focus on. Instead, focus on the maximum number of items in the list. This prompts Google to display the “More Items…” text, which can lead to better engagement.


Same with tables: For longer tables Google will invite the user to click to see more items in a table.

Moreover, tables give you huge competitive advantage because Google loves them but not too many publishers use them. So create more comparison tables!

3. Getstat Study of  Featured Snippets

Read the full study hereGetstat

Between January 16 and January 17, 2016, Getstat gathered the top 100 ranking URLs for one million high-CPC keywords.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Featured snippets are common on commercial SERPs
  • Featured snippets and “People also ask” appear to be connected
  • Featured snippet URLs in our study are less likely to utilize
  • Financial queries generate more featured snippets
  • Featured snippet URLs often feature <ol> and <table> (<ul> lists still work but they are not as popular)
  • Featured snippets never overlap with three-pack places results


Source URL:

How You Can Workaround with LinkRisk Tool


LinkRisk started out as a tool designed to help you find your most dangerous links. However, it has since grown into a seriously powerful suite of SEO tools.

There’s a lot more to LinkRisk than identifying problem links now, and I’d like to showcase some of the features that I feel are well worth telling you about.

There are five main tools in the suite currently, along with an API.  We’ll go through each of them below. The subscription prices range from $249/month to $2999/month and up, depending on the number of users and the volume of usage.

Full disclosure: I’m friends with one of the creators of the tool, and I do have a subscription to it.


I’ve used LinkRisk’s Audit tool in many of my link audits, and it just keeps getting better and better.

I always do a manual review of the “bad” links, and I will say that it’s very difficult for a tool to only show you bad links that mesh with your idea of bad links. However, Audit does do an excellent job of sussing out the most low-quality links.

Once you run the audit, you’ll be given a LinkRisk score that ranges from 0 to 1000.


In this tool, you add your own link data so you can grab that from any source that you like and upload it. You can upload files from Majestic, Moz, Ahrefs, and/or Google Webmaster Tools; you can also manually paste in a list of URLs.

You can set the tool up to automatically import new links from Google Webmaster Tools, Majestic and Ahrefs so that a new LinkRisk score is calculated with each refresh. You will obviously need to have a plan with Majestic and Ahrefs that enables them to connect.

When you first run the audit tool on a domain, you will need to add your link data in one of the ways mentioned above. My usual method is to upload a Majestic CSV file (although you can get them directly from Majestic if you set up the account connection) because I use that data in other ways and like to have a copy of it to go through. (Note that currently, Audit can’t accept an Excel file.)

Once you add the first file, you can add others and keep hitting Next until you’re ready to finish up. Before the tool runs, you’ll see a screen asking you if you want to skip the sample report and whether you want to rescan weekly/monthly/never. You can also add additional domains here.

Once you’ve hit Finish, your profile starts to run; you’ll have to wait a bit since there’s so much data to process, but the company does email you when it’s ready. Usually, it takes anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours because the tool recrawls all the sites in the profile so that the data are as up-to-date and accurate as possible.

Here’s a snapshot of my own site’s data:


In addition to the LinkRisk score, you can see the donut chart of how your links are categorized in terms of risk, and you’ll be able to view a donut for both anchors and TLDs.

Below all this is where you’ll find the list of your links, and that list is sortable by URL, LinkRisk score, page status and whether the link is currently active or inactive, as well as get more information on the link. You can also perform several functions with this list:

  1. Add the link to the approve list.
  2. Add the link to the investigate list.
  3. Add the link to the remove list.
  4. Add the link to the disavow list.
  5. Add the link to the ignore list.

The link list is filterable by anchor text, domain, LinkRisk score, HTTP status code, link rel, link status, list, extension, PageRank, latest links, link to, link location, and risk level. You can also change the report view from the default Main View to anchor text, HTTP status code, extension, PageRank, domain, sitewides, LinkRisk score, link status, follow/nofollow, link to, and link location.

All reports are exportable through your profile control panel:


Once you have your audit data, you have loads of options for using it. It’s mainly designed to help you assess risk, so most of you will be using it to find your potentially dangerous links.

They do make it easy to create a disavow file; so, if you’re under a penalty or you need to do some disavowing, that’s a very useful feature — especially as you can manage your disavow files there and not have to deal with multiple spreadsheet copies. You can also send a removal list directly to a BuzzStream project, which can make cleanup much more efficient.


This tool (their newest) actually pulls up the page where your link appears and lets you decide what to do about it. Since I’m always harping about doing a manual review of your links, this is incredibly useful.

You can also use this tool in conjunction with Peek (discussed further down), so think of it as a good way to quickly do a manual review of current or potential link placements.

As you can see, you can choose what you want to do with the link: nofollow it, approve it, add to a disavow file, remove it, or leave it alone until you know what you want to do. You can also open the page in Peek (again, we’ll go through that later on) or add a comment about it.

Once you’ve reviewed your links, you can view a snapshot. I’ve created an example snapshot below just to give you an idea. (I can assure you that I’m not “unsure” about a link from either Distilled or Kaiser The Sage — those tags are strictly for a quick snapshot for you!)


Once you have investigated your links, you can easily export them into a CSV file. There’s also a neat little workflow component here so you can change the tags to what you want; if the data was imported from Audit, you can change tags and send it back into Audit. From there, it can be used to populate different lists and/or add to your disavow file.


With this tool, you can choose a profile that you want to monitor. It’s very helpful as it scans the links that you want to monitor on a daily basis so that you will be alerted to changes.

You can add a list of links to monitor or import your Approve list from the Audit tool. If the link is down or becomes nofollowed after 3 days, they’ll send you email about it. Pretty handy, right? You can also check to see if a link you are trying to remove goes back up and remains live for 3 days, and again, you’ll get an email.



To be honest, this is a tool that I wasn’t expecting to love, as I am not a fan of automated discovery tools. However, once I tested it, I realized that it was showing me the same sites that I’d have found through my usual methods — and it was doing it in a more organized manner and showing me tons of information on each site.

Peek lets you search by keyword, email address, or IP address. I find the keyword search to be the most useful for my purposes, so let’s take a look at that.

When you first enter a search, you’re shown the results with the option to narrow it down or expand it by adding more keywords (they are shown with tags) and/or using advanced filters. The results are also exportable.


With your results list, you’ll see the following information about each site: Majestic Million, Citation, Trust Flow, Backlinks, and Social. The Social column lists what social information they have on the site, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, email address, etc.

When you click to view one of the results, you’ll see tons of information about that particular site, including contact information, social stats, keywords, meta information, SEMRush Google traffic, Alexa, Google AdSense and Analytics IDs, WhoIs info, hosting info, and similar sites. You can add each site to your Favorites and view that list any time with the top nav link. Your Favorites are exportable to BuzzStream or a spreadsheet.

Peek also has a bookmarklet so you can view a site’s info straight from your browser.


The Email search is useful, too, and will show you all the data that they have on a certain email address. You can click to view sites the person is associated with, social info, etc.



I don’t honestly check rankings that often, but the Rankings tool is very useful if you’re into that.

You select the profile you want and add keywords to it and you’ll be able to see your rankings over time. This information is also exportable.

You can look at each keyword by itself over time or view all of them together and look at specific regions and rankings — so if you want to see all keywords in the top 10, for example, you can do that here. If you want to track a specific keyword, you can get alerts that tell you if it’s moved a lot or has hit a certain spot.



The API has a lot of documentation available, so while I won’t be reviewing that, you can read more about it if you’re interested.

Overall Perspective

I do love the LinkRisk suite quite a bit, and I have started to rely on it for my link audits. As I said, I am friends with one of the creators of the tool, and I do have a subscription to it, but I wouldn’t be giving it a positive review if it didn’t deserve one.

I’ve seen the suite grow from the beginning, when the only option was Audit, and it’s been great to watch them continually adding new functionality and becoming increasingly accurate. (Peek really did surprise me when I first tested it, and I’m excited about using the Investigate tool right now as that makes the manual review of potentially dangerous links so much simpler.)

Overall, I’d highly recommend this suite and the team at LinkRisk are happy to do demos if you need help getting started.