How to Master The New Era of Pull Marketing

How to Master The New Era of Pull Marketing

Advertising is and always has carried a negative connotation with most. The fact is that regardless of what you are advertising or how you are doing it, people know what your end goal is. That being said there are cleaner ways of marketing your product, service, or brand that most fail to see.

Here we show you how to master that art.

Content Marketing Is About More Than Page Views

Content Marketing Is About More Than Page Views

Last year, I wrote two popular posts.

The first piece required more than 15 hours of my time to research, write, and publish. Those hours were spent answering a single question: what the hell is going on with the music industry? It’s a question with especially strong ramifications for songwriters and producers like myself. Despite the tiny target audience, How One Generation Single-Handedly Killed the Music Industry was shared tens of thousands of times and prompted nearly 30,000 comments on Facebook. I had struck a nerve.

Who Wants A Powerful Inbound Marketing Plan For Free?

Who Wants A Powerful Inbound Marketing Plan For Free?

Do you want a simple Inbound Marketing plan?

Why not learn a perfect plan first before paying a dime for help?

In this post I’m going to pour out the same plan I’ve told countless clients while they were insisting on just an SEO campaign. I’m going to show you how simple it really is to craft a bullet proof Inbound Marketing plan that almost any business can do on almost any budget and how SEO is really just one part of the process.

The Secret Weapon To Beat Google's Not Provided

What can you do about that big gaping hole of missing information known as (not provided) in Google Analytics?

We don't have access to organic keyword data from Google anymore and it's driving some people mad. The funny thing is there's one secret weapon for dealing with it and it's been here for years.

Google AdWords

Ok so it's not that much of a secret.

But seriously, Google AdWords still reports all keyword data to your analytics platforms, conversions and all.

For years we've recommended starting an SEO campaign with a research phase whereby we discover what target keywords we'll be aiming for over the course of the campaign.

In this phase we:

  • build a nice big list of keywords
  • sort them
  • and trim them down to the top keywords that have the most search volume
  • the lowest competition in paid search
  • all while being as relevant to our client's offering as possible

This is of course the cheapest and fastest way to perform keyword research. For our lower budget clients we went straight from this phase into setting up reports, writing Titles & META Tags, performing technical optimizations on the site and the litany of other SEO related tasks.

But for those clients who have the budget and are more keen to follow our undeniable Keep It Simple Stupid philosophy, there's a better way.

We take our target keyword findings one step further and start a small Google AdWords campaign, typically with minimum $1k/mo in ad-spend budget outside of our fee for such a campaign.

In this campaign we:

  • build out a variety of ads for each target keyword and iteration of keyword phrases
  • then we load in a pretty boilerplate list of negative keywords
  • set our match types appropriately for each keyword
  • install conversion tracking code wherever we want to monitor goals
  • launch the campaign

Shortly after launching the campaign we have a great idea of which keywords are driving conversions. Out of our initial list of 25 keywords, only 20 are driving impressions, maybe 10 are driving clicks with 5 or so driving the most clicks, and 2 keywords driving the most conversions.

Think about the granularity of keyword data we just obtained for a small investment in AdWords. Not only that but we know specifically which keywords will convert now. This is a sort of living lab for keyword research and performing content insights into searcher intent.

Also, it's not so bad that we got a few conversions for our client as well.

The next step is to take what we've learned from our keyword data and tweak our landing pages that ads are sending traffic to.

The best way to do this is use the target keywords in the page titles, headings and page copy for our landing pages. It's also not a bad idea to put your new target keywords for each page in the ALT attributes for images and filenames.

Optimizing your landing pages like this will increase your quality score in AdWords meaning; Google can see that your landing pages are more relevant to the keywords that are driving clicks through ads and will sequentially lower your cost per click (CPC) and increase the total amount of clicks you get due to a jump in page position for your ad as well as more clicks for the same budget.

This is the way to win at Google AdWords, but there's more to it. Now that you know which keywords convert, build whole content marketing plans around every imaginable permutation of those keywords.

Before you know it you won't need organic keyword data because you're fairly certain that through your Google AdWords data, rankings and top content reports in Google Analytics, your SEO efforts are working just fine.

Of course, you could always take it a step further and dig into various other keyword indicators to make up for that lost data.

No matter what happens, the way to truly win in Google is either create the next Wikipedia or Amazon (unlikely bro) or just play by Google's rules (much easier).

Simple Guide To Google's Hummingbird Algorithm

In this post I'm going to explain what Hummingbird is, how it works, and what you can do to help your site and content perform well in this completely new overhauled search engine brought to you by the 400lb. gorilla.

Back Story

When Google first announced Hummingbird, their first new search algorithm since Caffeine in 2009, it came as a shock to most of the marketing world. Despite that, Google dropped another bomb, announcing that the algorithm had actually been rolled out a month earlier, on August 30. Despite the shock, and the near panic that ensued, Hummingbird is quite similar to Caffeine, with a few minor changes designed to provide better quality real time results. Many of the search elements are the same, but the algorithm puts more focus on quality and helpful results, and offers more information previously only available via Google's Knowledge Graph. For businesses, that means quality is rewarded with better SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages), and as a result, more traffic.  

What is Hummingbird?

Google's Hummingbird algorithm is a search algorithm that relies on nearly 200 individual signals to rank pages in SERPS. Its focus is conversational search, which answers, converses with, and anticipates questions asked by users. Because Hummingbird's focus is on semantic 'conversational' phrases, it shifts the focus of keyword results towards slightly better quality results. Finally, it is also significantly more difficult to influence than Caffeine, making it easier for quality businesses to rank, and harder for spam and black hat websites to rank.  

Keywords & Search Terms

One of the most important changes that Google brought to search with Hummingbird is the shift in keyword importance. Where exact keywords and single important words were mainly used to rank websites and articles before, Google now uses semantic phrases, questions, and phrases of speech. Essentially, long tail keywords are now a good deal more important than they used to be.  

For example:

Panda: "Coffee Shop Baton Rouge"  

Hummingbird: "Where can I find good coffee in Baton Rouge?"

The result is a search system that features results based on questions, rather than keywords. You can also note from the screenshot that Google includes hyper localized results in the form of maps showing Google Plus Local Pages results, and also shows the business reviews in search, a markup that most definitely increases click-throughs for quality businesses.  

Because Google uses actual keywords, synonyms, and search phrases, it is important to integrate all of these into a keyword strategy. Google's Keyword Planner is an excellent resource for looking up and finding keyword recommendations based on single keywords.  

The following points are a basic keyword checklist for Hummingbird.  

·                     Research Synonyms and Use Them

·                     Use Long Tail Keywords and Semantic Phrases

·                     Aim For Low Density

·                     Quality First

While it is possible to utilize dozens of different synonyms and phrases, they should always remain semantic and should not affect the quality of the page in any way. One of the easiest ways to utilize search phrases is to integrate them into the page as headers or quotes, as though spoken or asked by the reader.  

Content

SEO has always been about content, but while content was 'King' in Caffeine, it is more like one of the leading members of a ruling body of parliament in Hummingbird. Content is still incredibly important, but quality and helpful information is now more important than length or a number of keywords. The most important goal is to make the content readable and informative for humans rather than search engines.  

Markups & Authorship

Markups are an incredibly important but often overlooked part of SEO. Anyone who wants to rank well in Hummingbird should pay attention to their markups, indexing, attributes, and other search engine entities. The idea of markups is to make it as easy as possible for Google to search and index. Obviously, the more easily Google indexes content, the better it comes up in search.  

Site Maps - Site Maps help Google to find and index individual pages. These are relatively easy to set up because there are multiple apps and websites dedicated to creating them.

MicroData - Pages can use specific Meta markups to tell search engines exactly what attributes their content is about. The process involves extra tags to help Google see what the page is about by including microdata markups like itemscope, itemprop, etc. Schema.org is one of the best free resources for finding individual markups based on the type and location of content. Some available markups include events, music information, and movie information.  

Authorship - Authorship is a markup that literally adds the author’s Google page to search results. It is valuable to businesses because it increases the perceived impact of the writer. Showing the authors name, face, and Google + follows in search improves the credibility and click-through rate of the author.

While Google did drop the number of 'authorship' results appearing in search as of the start of January 2014, it is still an excellent addition to any blog or content that would normally have an author. Check Google's guide to adding Authorship here.  

Reputation & Social

Social signals are another huge difference between Hummingbird and Caffeine. Some reports even suggest that positive shares and links from Facebook and Google Plus could affect SERPS as much as three times more than Page Rank (PR). While only Google knows the exact rate, it is still important to establish a positive online reputation via social sites like Google +, Facebook, and Twitter. Instagram, Tumblr, and other networks are also good for social reputation, but have less impact than the three main networks.  

Links

Links have long been a factor in increasing PageRank, but one of Google's recent updates to Hummingbird actually makes it more difficult to do so. Most links from guest blogs are no longer applicable towards the Page Rank of a website, which promotes higher quality backlinks and articles on blogs. However, backlinks from guest blogs are still useful for gaining traffic and creating natural links. Consider the following rules when posting guest blogs for SEO:  

·                     Use Authorship

·                     Focus on Relevant Blogs with Higher Traffic

·                     Use Meaningful Anchor Text In the Body of the Blog

Speed

Google loves quality results so make sure your website is as fast as possible. While you don't want to sacrifice features for speed, it is always better to have a faster website. However, a number of sites that are quite slow actually do rank, so this won't affect your search results at first, only the amount of time that each person spends on the page.  

Mobile Optimization

Google Hummingbird is all about mobile search, so if your website isn't responsive, then it has to be mobile optimized. Make sure that the site comes up quickly and looks good on tablets and phones, because experts suggest that at least 40% of search is coming from mobile devices.  

Takeaways

Google's Hummingbird algorithm focuses on quality content.  As a result, anyone who is producing content with humans in mind shouldn't have anything to worry about.  

·                     Uses Dialogue Based Natural Search Phrases

·                     Keywords & Their Synonyms Are Important  

·                     Natural Links from Meaningful Anchor Text  

·                     Use Meta Data, markups, And Rel- Markups to Make Search Easier

·                     Establish Social Authority through Sites & Authorship

·                     Create Content for Humans

Essentially, Google's Hummingbird is more beneficial than harmful to businesses, mainly because it focuses on quality, brings up localized results, and uses social signals to reward businesses for popularity with customers.