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Police urge people to stop sharing that Christchurch shooter video online

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In a clear act of terror, multiple people have died after gunmen opened fire at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday.

New Zealand Police said four suspects are in custody, and that the situation is ongoing.

The city is in lockdown, and the incident has already been described by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”

It’s also been reported that one of the attacks was live streamed online on YouTube and Facebook, although the original videos have been since taken down. Clips of the disturbing attack continue to be shared online, and inexplicably, broadcast by news outlets.  Read more…

More about Terrorism, Social Media, New Zealand, Shooting, and Tech

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The One-Hour Guide to SEO, Part 1: SEO Strategy – Whiteboard Friday

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Posted by randfish

Can you learn SEO in an hour? Surprisingly, the answer is yes, at least when it comes to the fundamentals! 

With this edition of Whiteboard Friday, we’re kicking off something special: a six-part series of roughly ten-minute-long videos designed to deliver core SEO concepts efficiently and effectively. It’s our hope that this will serve as a helpful resource for a wide range of people:

  • Beginner SEOs looking to get acquainted with the field concisely & comprehensively
  • Clients, bosses, and stakeholders who would benefit from an enhanced understanding of your work
  • New team members who need quick and easy onboarding
  • Colleagues with SEO-adjacent roles, such as web developers and software engineers

Today we’ll be covering Part 1: SEO Strategy with the man who wrote the original guide on SEO, our friend Rand. Settle in, and stay tuned next Friday for our second video covering keyword research!

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to a special edition of the Whiteboard Friday series. I’m Rand Fishkin, the founder and former CEO of Moz, and I’m here with you today because I’m going to deliver a one-hour guide to SEO, front and back, so that you can learn in just an hour the fundamentals of the practice and be smarter at choosing a great SEO firm to work with, hiring SEO people. 

A handy SEO resource for your clients, team, and colleagues

If you are already in SEO, you might pick up some tips and tactics that you didn’t otherwise know or hadn’t previously considered. I want to ask those of you who are sort of intermediate level and advanced level SEOs — and I know there are many of you who have historically watched me on Whiteboard Friday and I really appreciate that — to give this video a chance even though it is at the beginner level, because my hope is that it will be valuable to you to send to your clients, your potential customers, people who join your team and work with you, developers or software engineers or web devs who you are working with and whose help you need but you want them to understand the fundamentals of SEO.

If those are the people that you’re talking to, excellent. This series is for you. We’re going to begin with SEO strategy. That is our first part. Then we’ll get into things like keyword research and technical SEO and link building and all of that good stuff as well. 

The essentials: What is SEO, and what does it do?

So first off, SEO is search engine optimization. It is essentially the practice of influencing or being able to control some of the results that Google shows when someone types in or speaks a query to their system.

I say Google. You can influence other search engines, like Bing and DuckDuckGo and Yahoo and Seznam if you’re in the Czech Republic or Baidu. But we are primarily focused on Google because Google has more than a 90% market share in the United States and, in fact, in North America and South America, in most of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East with a few exceptions.

Start with business goals

So SEO is a tactic. It’s a way to control things. It is not a business goal. No one forms a new company or sits down with their division and says, “Okay, we need to rank for all of these keywords.” Instead what you should be saying, what hopefully is happening in your teams is, “We have these business goals.”

Example: “Grow our online soccer jersey sales to a web-savvy, custom heavy audience.”

Let’s say we’re an online e-commerce shop and we sell customized soccer jerseys, well, football for those of you outside of the United States. So we want to grow our online soccer jersey sales. Great, that is a true business goal. We’re trying to build a bigger audience. We want to sell more of these jerseys. In order to do that, we have marketing goals that we want to achieve, things like we want to build brand awareness.

Next, marketing goals

Build brand awareness

We want more people to know who we are, to have heard of our particular brand, because people who have heard of us are going to be more likely to buy from us. The first time you hear about someone, very unlikely to buy. The seventh time you’ve heard about someone, much more likely to buy from them. So that is a good marketing goal, and SEO can help with that. We’ll talk about that in a sec.

Grow top-of-funnel traffic

You might want to grow top-of-funnel traffic. We want more people coming to the site overall so that we can do a better job of figuring out who is the right audience for us and converting some of those people, retargeting some of those people, capturing emails from some of those people, all those good things. 

Attract ready-to-buy fans

We want to attract ready-to-buy fans, people who are chomping at the bit to buy our soccer jerseys, customize them and get them shipped.

SEO, as a strategy, is essentially a set of tactics, things that you will do in the SEO world to rank for different keywords in the search engines or control and influence what already ranks in there so that you can achieve your marketing goals so that you can achieve your business goals.

Don’t get this backwards. Don’t start from a place of SEO. Especially if you are an SEO specialist or a practitioner or you’re joining a consulting firm, you should always have an excellent idea of what these are and why the SEO tactics that you are undertaking fit into them. If you don’t, you should be asking those questions before you begin any SEO work.

Otherwise you’re going to accomplish things and do things that don’t have the impact or don’t tie directly to the impact that the business owners care about, and that’s going to mean probably you won’t get picked up for another contract or you won’t accomplish the goals that mean you’re valuable to the team or you do things that people don’t necessarily need and want in the business and therefore you are seen as a less valuable part of it.

Finally, move into SEO strategy

But if you’re accomplishing things that can clearly tie to these, the opposite. People will really value what you do. 

Rank for low-demand, high-conversion keywords

So SEO can do things like rank for low demand, things that don’t have a lot of searches per month but they are high conversion likely keywords, keywords like “I am looking for a customized Seattle Sounders soccer jersey that’s in the away colors.” Well, there’s not a lot of search demand for that exact phrase. But if you’re searching for it, you’re very likely to convert. 

Earn traffic from high-demand, low-competition, less commerce-focused keywords

You could try and earn traffic from high-demand, low competition keywords that are less focused directly on e-commerce. So it could be things like “Seattle Sounders news” or “Seattle Sounders stats” or a comparison of “Portland Timbers versus Seattle Sounders.” These are two soccer or football clubs in the Pacific Northwest. 

Build content that attracts links and influencer engagement

Or you might be trying to do things like building content that attracts links and influencer engagement so that in the future you can rank for more competitive keywords. We’ll talk about that in a sec. SEO can do some amazing things, but there are also things that it cannot do.

What SEO can do:

If you put things in here, if you as an SEO pitch to your marketing team or your business owners that SEO can do things that it can’t, you’re going to be in trouble. So when we compose an SEO strategy, a set of tactics that tries to accomplish marketing goals that tie to business goals, SEO can do things like:

  • Attract searchers that are seeking your content.
  • Control how your brand is seen in search results when someone searches for your particular name. 
  • Nudge searchers toward queries by influencing what gets suggested in the auto suggest or by suggesting related searches or people also ask boxes. 

Anything that shows up in the search results, nearly anything can be influenced by what we as SEOs can do.

What SEO cannot do:

Grow or create search demand on its own

But SEO cannot grow or create search demand by itself. So if someone says, “Hey, I want us to get more traffic for this specific keyword,” if you’re already ranking number one and you have some videos showing in the results and you’re also in the image results and you’ve got maybe a secondary page that links off to you from the results, you might say, “Hey, there’s just not more demand,” and SEO by itself can’t create that additional demand.

Build brand (by itself)

SEO also can’t build brand, at least not by itself. It can certainly be a helpful part of that structure. But if someone says, “Hey, I want us to be better known among this audience,”you can say, “Well, SEO can help a little, but it can’t build a brand on its own, and it certainly can’t build brand perception on its own.” People are going to go and visit your website. They’re going to go and experience, have an interaction with what you’ve created on the web. That is going to be far more of a brand builder, a brand indicator than just what appears in the search results. So SEO can’t do that alone. 

Directly convert customers

It also can’t directly convert customers. A lot of the time what we find is that someone will do a great job of ranking, but when you actually reach the website, when visitors reach the website, they are unsatisfied by the search, which by the way is one of the reasons why this one-hour guide is going to include a section on searcher satisfaction.

When Google sees over time that searchers are unsatisfied by a result, they will push that result down in the rankings and find someone who does a great job of satisfying searchers, and they will rank them instead. So the website has to do this. It is part of SEO. It’s certainly part of the equation, but SEO can’t influence it or control it on its own.

WORK OVERNIGHT!

Finally, last but not least, SEO cannot work overnight. It just won’t happen. SEO is a long-term investment. It is very different from paid search ads, PPC, also called SEM sometimes, buying from Google ads or from Bing ads and appearing in the sponsored results. That is a tactic where you can pour money in and optimize and get results out in 24 hours. SEO is more like a 24-month long process. 

The SEO Growth Path

I’ve tried to show that here. The fundamental concept is when you have a new website, you need to earn these things — links and engagement and historical performance in the rankings.

As you earn those things, other people are linking to you from around the web, people are talking about you, people are engaging with your pages and your brand, people start searching for your brand specifically, people are clicking you more in the search results and then having good experiences on your website, as all those great things happen, you will grow your historical engagement and links and ranking factors, all these things that we sort of put into the bucket of the authority and influence of a website.

3–6 months: Begin to rank for things in the long tail of search demand

As that grows, you will be able to first, over time, this might be three to six months down here, you might be able to rank for a few keywords in the long tail of search demand. 

6–9 months: Begin to rank for more and more competitive keywords

After six to nine months, if you’re very good at this, you may be able to rank for more and more competitive keywords.

12–18 months: Compete for tougher keywords

As you truly grow a brand that is well-known and well thought of on the internet and by search engines, 12 to 18 months in, maybe longer, you may be able to compete for tougher and tougher keywords. When I started the Moz website, back in the early days of Google, it took me years, literally two or three years before I was ranking for anything in Google, anything in the search engines, and that is because I had to first earn that brand equity, that trust, that relationship with the search engines, those links and that engagement.

Today this is more true than ever because Google is so good at estimating these things. All right. I look forward to hearing all about the amazing strategies and structures that you’ve got probably in the comments down below. I’m sure it will be a great thread. We’ll move on to the second part of our one-hour guide next time — keyword research. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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How to Set & Achieve Marketing Objectives in 2019

This may be of some interest.

In the content marketing industry, setting objectives can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, constantly raising the bar can incentivize your team to sustain your growth rate over long periods of time. But on the other hand, it can also incentivize your team to prioritize your company’s needs over your customers’ needs.

You might be thinking that this is the nature of content marketing today — in order to grow, you need to stay laser-focused on hitting your numbers. And, sometimes, to hit your numbers, you need to do what’s best for the business, even if it’s not the best move for your customers.

But contrary to popular belief, solely focusing on the results doesn’t actually produce results. Focusing on serving your customers is what produces results. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, is famous for sparking this customer-centric movement. In 2015, he spoke at Goldman Sach’s Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco, and a reporter asked him what were some of Apple’s biggest accomplishments from the past year. He responded, “We’re not focused on the numbers. We’re focused on the things that produce the numbers.”

In content marketing, one of the most influential things that produce the numbers is a passion for your craft. But, sometimes, we can get so obsessed with optimizing for results that we forget what actually generates the views and leads we desperately desire — compelling content.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to set realistic marketing objectives that will help you craft audience-centric content, prioritize your customers’ needs, and hit your numbers, all at the same time. Read on to learn how to identify your marketing objectives’ purpose and process and why it’s just as important as the numbers you aim to hit.

Download your free marketing goal-setting template here. 

In his insightful blog post about setting goals, Jay Acunzo, the founder of Unthinkable Media, reveals a subtle yet potent problem that has pervaded the content marketing industry over the years — traditional goal setting lets you measure what you do, but it doesn’t lend itself to gauging how you do it or why, which is what ultimately gives your work meaning and pushes you to hone your craft.

In marketing, you obviously need to aim for concrete targets. But, like we said earlier, only focusing on the results can sometimes incentivize you to take a course of action that prioritizes your organization’s needs over your customers’ needs.

To help you focus more on your purpose and process instead of just your results, Jay recommends considering two other things when setting a marketing objective — your hunger and aspirational anchor.

Your hunger is your current dissatisfaction with your work today or why you want to achieve your goal. Your aspirational anchor is your vision of your work in the future or how you’ll achieve your goal. These two things drive your motivation and keep you on track to create work that better serves your customers. And when you add your goal to the equation, you’ll be able to simultaneously produce customer-centric work and hit your numbers.

To learn how to set objectives that help you focus on the “why” and “how” behind your marketing initiative, check out the following example.

Marketing Objective Example

Hunger (Why) – Our blog educates our audience well but it doesn’t resonate emotionally with them enough.

Aspirational Anchor (How) – Run a blog that consistently resonates with our audience and that people look forward to reading every time they receive our email digest.

Goal (What) – Increase blog subscribers by 25% month over month this year.

With this goal setting framework, you can see how the “why” and “how” behind a goal incentivizes behavior that better serves customers and hits numbers at the same time.

For instance, in the example above, this blog team refuses to just do whatever it takes to boost their blog subscription. They want to craft emotionally resonant stories that their audience actually values, or content that’s worth subscribing to, and this is what will lead to their growth in subscribers and create long-term value for their business.

If this blog team didn’t identify their hunger or set an aspirational anchor, however, the only thing that would guide them toward the finish line is the finish line itself. And that could incentivize short-sighted behavior that helps them achieve their goal at the expense of prioritizing their audience’s needs over their own.

Setting Realistic Marketing Objectives With the SMART Goal Framework

Now that we understand the “why” and the “how” behind setting marketing objectives, let’s go over how you can root the “what” in reality with the SMART goal framework.

SMART goals are realistic, quantifiable, and focused targets that you can easily aim for. If you’re wondering what SMART means, it’s an acronym that helps you clearly define your goals. Check out the framework below to learn more.

Specific

In terms of marketing, you should choose the particular metric you want to improve upon, like visitors, leads, or customers. You should also determine what each team members will work on, the resources they’ll have, and their plan of action.

Measurable

If you want to gauge your team’s progress, you need to quantify your goals, like achieving an X percentage increase in visitors, leads, or customers.

Attainable

Make sure that X-percentage increase is achievable in your specific situation. If your blog traffic increased by 5% last month, try to increase it by 8-10% this month, not 30%. It’s crucial to base your goals off of your own analytics, not industry benchmarks, or else you might bite off more than you can chew.

Relevant

Your goal needs to relate to your company’s overall goal and account for current trends in your industry. For instance, will growing your Facebook following lead to more revenue? And is it actually possible for you to significantly boost your organic reach on Facebook after their most recent algorithm change? If you’re aware of these factors, you’ll be more likely to set goals that are realistic, achievable, and beneficial to your company.

Time-bound

Attaching deadlines to your goals puts pressure on your team to accomplish them. And this helps you make consistent and significant progress in the long-term. If you don’t give yourself a deadline, accomplishing your goal will take too long to achieve long-term success. For example, which would you prefer? Increasing leads by 5% every month, leading to a 30-35% increase in half a year? Or trying to increase leads by 15% with no deadline and achieving that goal in a year?

Blending Hunger, Aspirational Anchors, and SMART Goals

By analyzing two different goal setting frameworks, we’ve learned how to identify the “why”, “how”, and “what” behind your marketing objectives . Now, we can blend the two frameworks to set a realistic goal that fulfills our customers needs first and helps us hit our numbers at the same time. Check out this example for more detail.

Specific (Include your hunger and aspiration)

Our blog educates our audience well, but it doesn’t resonate emotionally with them enough. Let’s start running a blog that can consistently resonate with our audience, that people look forward to reading every time they receive our email digest, and can attract more subscribers.

Measurable

Increase month-over-month blog subscribers by 25% this year.

Attainable

Last year, we increased month-over-month blog subscribers by 15%.

Relevant (Include your hunger and aspiration)

If we can craft emotionally resonant stories that our audience actually values, we can build deeper relationships with them, attract more subscribers who we can also build deep relationships with, and hopefully do business with them in the future.

SMART Goal

By crafting stories that consistently resonate with our audience and is worth subscribing to, we can increase our month-to-month subscribers by 25% this year.

free marketing goal setting template

Thank you for reading.

Usain Bolt promotes e-scooters in New York, where it’s illegal to ride them

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The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, stood on the steps of New York City Hall on Tuesday to promote the national launch of e-scooter sharing company, Bolt Mobility.

The two Bolts share a name, so it only made sense that Bolt the company would bring Bolt the human onboard as its official brand ambassador. At the conference, standing next to Bolt the man was the company’s newly unveiled “Chariot,” a scooter model large enough to store a rider’s bags and comes complete with two cup holders. 

Bolt Mobility brand ambassador Usain Bolt poses atop the "Chariot" model e-scooter, which he could not actually legally ride at the New York press conference.

Bolt Mobility brand ambassador Usain Bolt poses atop the “Chariot” model e-scooter, which he could not actually legally ride at the New York press conference.

Image: matt binder / mashable Read more…

More about Ride Sharing, Scooters, Usain Bolt, E Scooter, and E Scooters

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'Grown-ish' actress Yara Shahidi gets her own Barbie

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When Barbie told 19-year-old Yara Shahidi that the company wanted to gift her a one-of-a-kind “shero” doll made in her likeness, the Grown-ish actress was stunned. 

“It’s really surreal just because this was never within my realm of possibility. I never thought, ‘Oh yeah, one day I’ll have my own doll’ or anything like that,” says Shahidi, who went from starring on the hit series Black-ish to its spin-off Grown-ish

Shahidi is one of 20 role models from 18 countries being honored by Barbie as it marks both its 60th anniversary and International Women’s Day. The sheroes, as Barbie calls them, include German track cyclist Kristina Vogel, French director Lisa Azuelos, and Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka. Read more…

More about International Women S Day, Barbie, Womens Rights, Yara Shahidi, and Social Good

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Want to Prove Content Marketing ROI? You Need an Actionable Marketing Dashboard

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Why You Need an Actionable Content Marketing Dashboard

Why You Need an Actionable Content Marketing Dashboard

Content marketers are believers. We believe our content brings real value to our prospects, clients, and partners. We believe our content is essential for driving demand. And we believe that content marketing is essential for bolstering our company’s bottom line.

However, we’re also realistic; as it’s often said: Seeing is believing. So, we need to be able to show proof of content marketing ROI to get our key stakeholders to believe, too.

And to do this, we need a source of truth that artfully and easily shows how we’re performing against our benchmarks, goals, and key performance indicators (KPIs), as well as where we’ve identified opportunities to improve results. We need an actionable content marketing dashboard.

To put it simply, when set up right, an actionable dashboard allows us to answer two simple questions: 1) Is what we’re doing working? 2) Why is it (or isn’t) working?

How does this help you identify, show, and prove ROI across the organization? Let’s dive in.

How Actionable Content Marketing Dashboards Can Inform, Inspire, & Show ROI

What are the benefits of an actionable content marketing dashboard? All the fun and exciting benefits that come from knowing how your content is performing at a granular level aside, there are a ton of benefits that come from a holistic content marketing dashboard—especially when it comes to getting stakeholder engagement and buy-in.

An actionable marketing dashboard isn’t just a long, dry analytics report. It’s visually engaging and easy to digest.

[bctt tweet=”An actionable #marketing dashboard isn’t just a long, dry analytics report. It’s visually engaging and easy to digest. – @Tiffani_Allen” username=”toprank”]

Highlight the Bottom Line for Leadership

The executives hold the purse-strings. And they want to ensure the budget you’ve been given is being put to good use.

With an actionable dashboard, you can avoid the awkward “What have you done for me lately?” conversation with your leadership team by easily showing them how your content marketing efforts tie back to overall business objectives.

With the right data and insight readily available in your dashboard, you can showcase performance from visit to sale, so when they ask: “Is this content getting us an ROI?” Your answer can be: “You bet. In fact, overall our content marketing efforts drove 200% ROI in 2018 and we’re trending to exceed that benchmark in 2019 based on our goals.”

Of course, as a general rule, you don’t lose marketing funding for something that pays for itself and more.

Inspire Your Peers Inside & Outside the Marketing Department

When your marketing team members are able to see the fruits of their labor, they’ll be more driven to continue what’s working and looking for innovation opportunities to take it to the next level.

In addition, if you’ve been working with an internal subject matter expert such as your human resources director or sales manager to create content, showcasing how their contributions are making an impact will make them more open to ongoing collaboration—which can help all parties reach their goals.

As a little tip, consider making a leaderboard in your dashboard so contributors can easily track how the content they’ve contributed to is performing. Adding a little competition based on objectives is a fun way to level-up performance. (Betting on this performance is optional.)

[bctt tweet=”When your #marketing team members are able to see the fruits of their labor, they’ll be more driven to continue what’s working and looking for innovation opportunities to take it to the next level. @Tiffani_Allen” username=”toprank”]

Set New Hires Up for Scalable Marketing Success

Another key benefit is that actionable marketing dashboards can help you scale your content marketing efforts. For example, if you find yourself proving so much ROI that you need to expand your team to keep up with demand, you can easily transfer knowledge to your new hires about what kind of content works and doesn’t work, and how they can know the difference.

This kind of results-focused training and new hire orientation helps keep your full team aligned around what really matters—creating and marketing quality content that exceeds your benchmarks and blows your goals out of the water.

Strengthen Relationships With Clients & Influential Collaborators

Whether you’re working with industry influencers to co-create content or you regularly engage clients to provide testimonials and case studies, you have the opportunity to use your marketing dashboard to show them not only how valuable they are to your marketing efforts, but the mutual value being incurred.

For example, let’s say a client helped create a testimonial or case study that saw a 300% increase in visibility over benchmark for that content type. Your message to them can be that together you’ve driven an incredible amount of brand awareness for both of your organizations.

Your Actionable Next Step? Create Your Content Marketing Dashboard

The performance of your content marketing means much more than traditional success metrics—it can mean visibility for your business, strength for your bottom line, and alignment for your internal teams.

If you’re ready for more visibility and creating a stronger business case for your efforts, the first step is to create a dashboard of your own, tailored to your marketing and business objectives.

Again, when properly set up, an actionable dashboard should allow you to answer two simple questions: 1) Is what we’re doing working? 2) Why is it (or isn’t) working?

Wondering how to create this magical dashboard? Check out our guide to marketing dashboard essentials to get started on your path toward data-driven success.

The post Want to Prove Content Marketing ROI? You Need an Actionable Marketing Dashboard appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.

People are throwing cheese on their children now, and it's kinda great

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Throwing cheese on your dog was good, but throwing cheese on a small child might be … better?

Yes, improving upon the dog cheese challenge — the only good internet challenge I’ve ever seen — seems impossible. But people have been throwing cheese on their toddlers and there’s a Twitter thread and it’s all so delightful. 

Have you ever seen a crying kid stop crying once there is cheese stuck to their face? It’s a testament to the power of dairy products and also the power of surprise.

Please enjoy this perfect series of videos, and may the small child in your life have some cheese on their face soon. Unless the small child in your life wouldn’t like that. Then don’t do it. These kids, however, seem to really enjoy it.  Read more…

More about Twitter, Cheese, Social Media, Babies, and Culture

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Rewriting the Beginner’s Guide to SEO, Chapter 7: Measuring, Prioritizing, & Executing SEO

This may be of some interest.

Posted by BritneyMuller

It’s finally here, for your review and feedback: Chapter 7 of the new Beginner’s Guide to SEO, the last chapter. We cap off the guide with advice on how to measure, prioritize, and execute on your SEO. And if you missed them, check out the drafts of our outline, Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter FourChapter Five, and Chapter Six for your reading pleasure. As always, let us know what you think of Chapter 7 in the comments!


Set yourself up for success.

They say if you can measure something, you can improve it.

In SEO, it’s no different. Professional SEOs track everything from rankings and conversions to lost links and more to help prove the value of SEO. Measuring the impact of your work and ongoing refinement is critical to your SEO success, client retention, and perceived value.

It also helps you pivot your priorities when something isn’t working.

Start with the end in mind

While it’s common to have multiple goals (both macro and micro), establishing one specific primary end goal is essential.

The only way to know what a website’s primary end goal should be is to have a strong understanding of the website’s goals and/or client needs. Good client questions are not only helpful in strategically directing your efforts, but they also show that you care.

Client question examples:

  1. Can you give us a brief history of your company?
  2. What is the monetary value of a newly qualified lead?
  3. What are your most profitable services/products (in order)?

Keep the following tips in mind while establishing a website’s primary goal, additional goals, and benchmarks:

Goal setting tips

  • Measurable: If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
  • Be specific: Don’t let vague industry marketing jargon water down your goals.
  • Share your goals: Studies have shown that writing down and sharing your goals with others boosts your chances of achieving them.

Measuring

Now that you’ve set your primary goal, evaluate which additional metrics could help support your site in reaching its end goal. Measuring additional (applicable) benchmarks can help you keep a better pulse on current site health and progress.

Engagement metrics

How are people behaving once they reach your site? That’s the question that engagement metrics seek to answer. Some of the most popular metrics for measuring how people engage with your content include:

Conversion rate – The number of conversions (for a single desired action/goal) divided by the number of unique visits. A conversion rate can be applied to anything, from an email signup to a purchase to account creation. Knowing your conversion rate can help you gauge the return on investment (ROI) your website traffic might deliver.

In Google Analytics, you can set up goals to measure how well your site accomplishes its objectives. If your objective for a page is a form fill, you can set that up as a goal. When site visitors accomplish the task, you’ll be able to see it in your reports.

Time on page – How long did people spend on your page? If you have a 2,000-word blog post that visitors are only spending an average of 10 seconds on, the chances are slim that this content is being consumed (unless they’re a mega-speed reader). However, if a URL has a low time on page, that’s not necessarily bad either. Consider the intent of the page. For example, it’s normal for “Contact Us” pages to have a low average time on page.

Pages per visit – Was the goal of your page to keep readers engaged and take them to a next step? If so, then pages per visit can be a valuable engagement metric. If the goal of your page is independent of other pages on your site (ex: visitor came, got what they needed, then left), then low pages per visit are okay.

Bounce rate – “Bounced” sessions indicate that a searcher visited the page and left without browsing your site any further. Many people try to lower this metric because they believe it’s tied to website quality, but it actually tells us very little about a user’s experience. We’ve seen cases of bounce rate spiking for redesigned restaurant websites that are doing better than ever. Further investigation discovered that people were simply coming to find business hours, menus, or an address, then bouncing with the intention of visiting the restaurant in person. A better metric to gauge page/site quality is scroll depth.

Scroll depth – This measures how far visitors scroll down individual webpages. Are visitors reaching your important content? If not, test different ways of providing the most important content higher up on your page, such as multimedia, contact forms, and so on. Also consider the quality of your content. Are you omitting needless words? Is it enticing for the visitor to continue down the page? Scroll depth tracking can be set up in your Google Analytics.

Search traffic

Ranking is a valuable SEO metric, but measuring your site’s organic performance can’t stop there. The goal of showing up in search is to be chosen by searchers as the answer to their query. If you’re ranking but not getting any traffic, you have a problem.

But how do you even determine how much traffic your site is getting from search? One of the most precise ways to do this is with Google Analytics.

Using Google Analytics to uncover traffic insights

Google Analytics (GA) is bursting at the seams with data — so much so that it can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to look. This is not an exhaustive list, but rather a general guide to some of the traffic data you can glean from this free tool.

Isolate organic traffic – GA allows you to view traffic to your site by channel. This will mitigate any scares caused by changes to another channel (ex: total traffic dropped because a paid campaign was halted, but organic traffic remained steady).

Traffic to your site over time – GA allows you to view total sessions/users/pageviews to your site over a specified date range, as well as compare two separate ranges.

How many visits a particular page has received – Site Content reports in GA are great for evaluating the performance of a particular page — for example, how many unique visitors it received within a given date range.

Traffic from a specified campaign – You can use UTM (urchin tracking module) codes for better attribution. Designate the source, medium, and campaign, then append the codes to the end of your URLs. When people start clicking on your UTM-code links, that data will start to populate in GA’s “campaigns” report.

Click-through rate (CTR) – Your CTR from search results to a particular page (meaning the percent of people that clicked your page from search results) can provide insights on how well you’ve optimized your page title and meta description. You can find this data in Google Search Console, a free Google tool.

In addition, Google Tag Manager is a free tool that allows you to manage and deploy tracking pixels to your website without having to modify the code. This makes it much easier to track specific triggers or activity on a website.

Additional common SEO metrics

  • Domain Authority & Page Authority (DA/PA) – Moz’s proprietary authority metrics provide powerful insights at a glance and are best used as benchmarks relative to your competitors’ Domain Authority and Page Authority.
  • Keyword rankings – A website’s ranking position for desired keywords. This should also include SERP feature data, like featured snippets and People Also Ask boxes that you’re ranking for. Try to avoid vanity metrics, such as rankings for competitive keywords that are desirable but often too vague and don’t convert as well as longer-tail keywords.
  • Number of backlinks – Total number of links pointing to your website or the number of unique linking root domains (meaning one per unique website, as websites often link out to other websites multiple times). While these are both common link metrics, we encourage you to look more closely at the quality of backlinks and linking root domains your site has.

How to track these metrics

There are lots of different tools available for keeping track of your site’s position in SERPs, site crawl health, SERP features, and link metrics, such as Moz Pro and STAT.

The Moz and STAT APIs (among other tools) can also be pulled into Google Sheets or other customizable dashboard platforms for clients and quick at-a-glance SEO check-ins. This also allows you to provide more refined views of only the metrics you care about.

Dashboard tools like Data Studio, Tableau, and PowerBI can also help to create interactive data visualizations.

Evaluating a site’s health with an SEO website audit

By having an understanding of certain aspects of your website — its current position in search, how searchers are interacting with it, how it’s performing, the quality of its content, its overall structure, and so on — you’ll be able to better uncover SEO opportunities. Leveraging the search engines’ own tools can help surface those opportunities, as well as potential issues:

  • Google Search Console – If you haven’t already, sign up for a free Google Search Console (GSC) account and verify your website(s). GSC is full of actionable reports you can use to detect website errors, opportunities, and user engagement.
  • Bing Webmaster Tools – Bing Webmaster Tools has similar functionality to GSC. Among other things, it shows you how your site is performing in Bing and opportunities for improvement.
  • Lighthouse Audit – Google’s automated tool for measuring a website’s performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, and more. This data improves your understanding of how a website is performing. Gain specific speed and accessibility insights for a website here.
  • PageSpeed Insights – Provides website performance insights using Lighthouse and Chrome User Experience Report data from real user measurement (RUM) when available.
  • Structured Data Testing Tool – Validates that a website is using schema markup (structured data) properly.
  • Mobile-Friendly Test – Evaluates how easily a user can navigate your website on a mobile device.
  • Web.dev – Surfaces website improvement insights using Lighthouse and provides the ability to track progress over time.
  • Tools for web devs and SEOs – Google often provides new tools for web developers and SEOs alike, so keep an eye on any new releases here.

While we don’t have room to cover every SEO audit check you should perform in this guide, we do offer an in-depth Technical SEO Site Audit course for more info. When auditing your site, keep the following in mind:

Crawlability: Are your primary web pages crawlable by search engines, or are you accidentally blocking Googlebot or Bingbot via your robots.txt file? Does the website have an accurate sitemap.xml file in place to help direct crawlers to your primary pages?

Indexed pages: Can your primary pages be found using Google? Doing a site:yoursite.com OR site:yoursite.com/specific-page check in Google can help answer this question. If you notice some are missing, check to make sure a meta robots=noindex tag isn’t excluding pages that should be indexed and found in search results.

Check page titles & meta descriptions: Do your titles and meta descriptions do a good job of summarizing the content of each page? How are their CTRs in search results, according to Google Search Console? Are they written in a way that entices searchers to click your result over the other ranking URLs? Which pages could be improved? Site-wide crawls are essential for discovering on-page and technical SEO opportunities.

Page speed: How does your website perform on mobile devices and in Lighthouse? Which images could be compressed to improve load time?

Content quality: How well does the current content of the website meet the target market’s needs? Is the content 10X better than other ranking websites’ content? If not, what could you do better? Think about things like richer content, multimedia, PDFs, guides, audio content, and more.

Pro tip: Website pruning!

Removing thin, old, low-quality, or rarely visited pages from your site can help improve your website’s perceived quality. Performing a content audit will help you discover these pruning opportunities. Three primary ways to prune pages include:

  1. Delete the page (4XX): Use when a page adds no value (ex: traffic, links) and/or is outdated.
  2. Redirect (3XX): Redirect the URLs of pages you’re pruning when you want to preserve the value they add to your site, such as inbound links to that old URL.
  3. NoIndex: Use this when you want the page to remain on your site but be removed from the index.

Keyword research and competitive website analysis (performing audits on your competitors’ websites) can also provide rich insights on opportunities for your own website.

For example:

  • Which keywords are competitors ranking on page 1 for, but your website isn’t?
  • Which keywords is your website ranking on page 1 for that also have a featured snippet? You might be able to provide better content and take over that snippet.
  • Which websites link to more than one of your competitors, but not to your website?

Discovering website content and performance opportunities will help devise a more data-driven SEO plan of attack! Keep an ongoing list in order to prioritize your tasks effectively.

Prioritizing your SEO fixes

In order to prioritize SEO fixes effectively, it’s essential to first have specific, agreed-upon goals established between you and your client.

While there are a million different ways you could prioritize SEO, we suggest you rank them in terms of importance and urgency. Which fixes could provide the most ROI for a website and help support your agreed-upon goals?

Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, developed a handy time management grid that can ease the burden of prioritization:

Source: Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Putting out small, urgent SEO fires might feel most effective in the short term, but this often leads to neglecting non-urgent important fixes. The not urgent & important items are ultimately what often move the needle for a website’s SEO. Don’t put these off.

SEO planning & execution

“Without strategy, execution is aimless. Without execution, strategy is useless.”
– Morris Chang

Much of your success depends on effectively mapping out and scheduling your SEO tasks. You can use free tools like Google Sheets to plan out your SEO execution (we have a free template here), but you can use whatever method works best for you. Some people prefer to schedule out their SEO tasks in their Google Calendar, in a kanban or scrum board, or in a daily planner.

Use what works for you and stick to it.

Measuring your progress along the way via the metrics mentioned above will help you monitor your effectiveness and allow you to pivot your SEO efforts when something isn’t working. Say, for example, you changed a primary page’s title and meta description, only to notice that the CTR for that page decreased. Perhaps you changed it to something too vague or strayed too far from the on-page topic — it might be good to try a different approach. Keeping an eye on drops in rankings, CTRs, organic traffic, and conversions can help you manage hiccups like this early, before they become a bigger problem.

Communication is essential for SEO client longevity

Many SEO fixes are implemented without being noticeable to a client (or user). This is why it’s essential to employ good communication skills around your SEO plan, the time frame in which you’re working, and your benchmark metrics, as well as frequent check-ins and reports.


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Dude gets caught eating pizza live on camera outside the Cohen hearing

This may be of some interest.

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Have you spent all day watching the Cohen hearing, becoming more exhausted with each passing moment? Here is a man who also seems tired, except — unlike you, presumably — he got caught on a live CBSN camera eating pizza in a hallway.

Luckily for all of us, Mike Uhelein immortalized this extremely good moment by capturing and tweeting a video of his television screen. Observe Hallway Pizza Guy in the background: You can identify the exact moment he realizes he’s made the shot.

The pizza appears to be from pizza chain &pizza, which I had in an airport once. It was not my favorite pizza but it was pretty good. Read more…

More about Twitter, Social Media, Pizza, Michael Cohen, and Culture

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