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2020

How to Get Backlinks in 2020 [Series] – Whiteboard Friday

This may be of some interest.

Posted by BritneyMuller

Link building is never-ending in SEO, but a little creativity and smart tactics can help you ferret out great link opportunities from their hiding spots. In this episode of Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller kicks off a series on modern link building (including the sage advice: let people choose their own anchor text!)

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

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we are going to be looking at the easiest ways for you to get backlinks to your website. None of these involve content creation whatsoever.

Really excited to dive into this. It will be part of a larger “Link Building in 2020 Series and Beyond.” So really excited to dive into some of the easiest things that you can do today to enhance your backlink profile. Let’s take a look.

No-brainer link building

☑ Unlinked brand, product, name, etc. mentions

This is simply just going to Google, doing a search for these things within quotes, and looking at the first several pages of results to ensure that all of those results are linking back to your site.

They likely are not, so those will be your opportunities to send a message or an email asking for the webmaster or the writer to provide a link back to your site with your mention. It’s one of the easiest things to do. So is unlinked images. 

☑ Unlinked images

This is a gold mine if you’re working with a website that has a lot of proprietary images or really great graphic design, maybe you have infographics or some things that are special to the brand or the domain. Use Google reverse image search and put in the images that you think might have been taken or used on other websites.

You will immediately see what those websites are and whether or not they link back to your site. So again, very similar to this first one. You’re basically just asking for them to credit the website and link back accordingly. 

☑ Redirect your 404 pages with backlinks

This is completely within your control. No outreach required. In fact, Moz Link Explorer provides this really, really easily within Moz Pro. You basically take a look at all of your pages that have backlinks, and you can filter by status code.

You just change that to 400s, 404s, and you can see all of the pages to your website that currently have backlinks but the page is no longer there. All you want to do with that is just simply 301 redirect that old broken page to a new relevant page, and you’re kind of saving that authority that is being sent to your site.

So, so easy. A lot of people forget about that one. It’s great. 

☑ Keep an eye on recently lost links

The keyword here is “recently.” If you can engage with another website that has recently either by accident or changed things around on purpose on the page, you are more likely to reclaim your lost link.

It’s also just important to really understand why. 

  • Is that website going through a redesign? 
  • Have they gotten rid of pages? 
  • Did a competitor come in and provide a better resource than what you currently had? 

There are all sorts of reasons why you really want to identify what’s going on.

☑ Move backlink targets

This is a new tactic that was recently brought to my attention by the brilliant Sarah Hollenbeck at Siege Media. They have a brilliant team. I highly recommend you checking out this article that’s basically all about moving backlink targets, which has never really occurred to me, where you basically have backlinks to older resources or older content or products that you want restructured to newer or more important pages on your website. 

Sarah goes into great detail about this and can help explain just how you can do this successfully and what that means for your site. So really, really neat. I highly suggest that. 

☑ Sites that list competitors, but not you

Check out sites that list competitors but not you. These might be resource pages or roundups of information of sorts.

You can play around with this in Google as well by providing competitors within quotes and then minus your company or the website you’re working on. 

It really starts to give you an idea of what websites might be great opportunities for a backlink, because you fit within that vein. It makes sense. 

☑  Sites that provide topic/industry + geo information

Similarly sites that provide topic or industry plus geo information, so again finding those resource pages, those roundups. Oftentimes you will see these on lots of .edu sites or even .gov. So you can do some different searches around, if you were Columbia, outdoor clothing in Minnesota.

Play around with this a bit. This could be in the Midwest, in the United States. You can change these words around and really start to identify some higher-quality link prospects. 

☑ Build relationships

Lastly, build relationships. I cannot speak more highly about this.

Just for your own career longevity and what you do in SEO and marketing in general, it is so important to develop genuine, real relationships with individuals that work in the industry, whether that be at other websites or just in the same vein of things.

Not only can you bounce ideas off of these people and really get help with different things, but you get to help support the incredible things that they’re working on. It’s just an all-around, feel-good, help each other out situation. So if you’re not already reaching out and building relationships, I highly suggest you do that.

It’s a lot of fun, and I can’t stress enough there are so, so many good people within our industry it’s incredible. 

☑ BONUS: Let people choose anchor text!

Lastly, we really want to take a modern look at link building practices in 2020 and beyond, and a big part of that goes around things like let people choose the anchor text for your backlink.

Five or 10 years ago it was standard to request very specific anchor text for the keyword you wanted to rank for. It’s not really the case anymore. Especially with the addition of BERT, Google has gotten so much more sophisticated in understanding text and language and websites that it’s really unnecessary and might even cause problems to ask for those specific anchor link texts.

Definitely take a look at this article we’ll link to down below by David Farkas here, who wrote about link building lies. It’s a really great article. We’ll continue to build upon this series to provide you with some fresher information around link building today. I really look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions down below.

Feel free to let us know what you liked about this, what you didn’t like. If you have any great ideas, please let us know down in the comments, and I look forward to seeing you all next time. Thanks so much. See you.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


Scoop up more SEO insights at MozCon Virtual this July

Don’t miss exclusive data, tips, workflows, and advice from Britney and our other fantastic speakers at this year’s MozCon Virtual! Chock full of the SEO industry’s top thought leadership, for the first time ever MozCon will be completely remote-friendly. It’s like 20+ of your favorite Whiteboard Fridays on vitamins and doubled in size, plus interactive Q&A, virtual networking, and full access to the video bundle:

Save my spot at MozCon Virtual!

We can’t wait to see you there!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Thank you for reading.

The MozCon Virtual 2020 Final Agenda

This may be of some interest.

Posted by cheryldraper

We’re just about a month out from this year’s MozCon and we couldn’t be more excited! If you’ve never considered it before, it’s high time you became acquainted with the idea of a “couchference” — a full-fledged conference held from the comfort of your home office space, real office space (depending on your local quarantine phase), or even your sofa.

On July 14th & 15th, we’ll be charting brand-new territory with MozCon Virtual: with a choose-your-own-adventure two-stream show, robust opportunities for online networking, and some of the industry’s top speakers, you’re in for all the turbo-charged SEO education and peer interaction of in-person MozCon with none of the troubles of travel. Plus, at $129 per ticket (including full access to the professionally produced video bundle, a $350 value!) you’ll access incredible marketing thought leadership at an unheard-of price:

Nab my ticket and video bundle for $129

And remember, this is a great opportunity for our friends around the world and those who aren’t able to travel to experience the MozCon magic live! If this will be your first time attending, we’d love to hear what talk you’re most excited for in the comments(All talk times are in Pacific, so keep that in mind when planning your day! We promise we won’t judge if you’re watching in your jammies.)

Read on to see what your favorite industry leaders are speaking on this year!


Tuesday, July 14th


8:30am – Networking

Open time for attendees to connect with other attendees and MozCon partners.

9:00am – Keynote – Welcome to MozCon Virtual 2020 + State of the Industry

Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz

Sarah has a storied history of kicking MozCon off with a bright, sparkly bang. The fearless leader of Moz will be welcoming each and every one of us to this year’s virtual event, laying out all the pertinent details of the conference, and setting the tone for two jam-packed days of learning with a look at the State of the Industry.

9:25am – Keynote – Thought Leadership and SEO: The 3 Key Elements and Search Ranking Strategies

Andy Crestodina, Co-founder and CMO, Orbit Media

Everyone wants to do it, but no one really knows what it is. So what is thought leadership? What isn’t it? And how does it affect search rankings?

This presentation is a data-rich perspective on the oh-so-popular topic of thought leadership, filled with practical takeaways for becoming an authority. And it’s all about the relationship between thought leadership and SEO. We’ll see how the research answers the questions and informs the tactics: Can brands be thought leaders? Can it be outsourced? Do you need to publish research? Or strong opinion? And how does it attract links and authority, rankings, and qualified visitors? Learn how a personal brand combines with content to drive big wins in SEO.

10:20am – Stream 1 – Great Expectations: The Truth About Digital PR Campaigns

Shannon McGuirk, Head of PR & Content, Aira

In her talk, Shannon will challenge the desire for virality over consistency when it comes to digital PR and link building campaigns, while exploring the impact on the industry, team morale, and client expectations. By honestly sharing her own shortcomings, she’ll push you to learn from your own campaign failures using tried and tested frameworks that’ll mean you can face any creative campaign or outreach struggle head-on.

10:20am – Stream 2 – Whatever You Do, Put Billboards in Seattle – Getting Brand Awareness Data from Google

Robin Lord, Consultant, Distilled

How can you harness the vast power of Google data to gain special insight into city- and product-level brand awareness? Robin will lead us on a journey through his Google Trends methodology to use Adwords search volume data for better brand intelligence.

11:15am – Stream 1 – How to Build a Global Brand Without a Global Budget

Phil Nottingham, Brand and Video Marketing Strategist, Phil Nottingham Ltd.

As funnel-based marketing becomes less effective and harder to measure, “building a brand” is frequently touted as the panacea for all marketer’s woes. But it’s unclear how this can be achieved scalably and with a limited budget. Large enterprises resort to huge creative advertising campaigns that get their names out there by force of spend alone — but this isn’t realistic for the smaller companies and the number of impressions is not the number of people impressed. In this session, Phil explains how modern brands are built through advocacy more than awareness alone, offering a deliverable method of brand marketing to radically shake up your content strategy.

11:15am – Stream 2 – The Science of Seeking Your Customer

Alexis Sanders, Senior SEO Account Manager, Merkle

Users are at the core of everything we do in modern SEO. However, finding and understanding audiences can be daunting. Alexis will cover how to find your audience, share tools that are available for all price points, and show ways in which she’s found audience research to be useful as an SEO.

12:10pm – Birds of a Feather discussion groups

Connect and chat with like-minded marketers on a wide range of digital marketing topics!

12:55pm – Keynote – Moving Targets: Keywords in Crisis

Dr. Peter J. Meyers, Marketing Scientist, Moz

Too often, we take a once-and-done approach to keyword research, but Google changes at the pace of information, and that pace speeds up even more during a crisis. How do we do keyword research in fast-paced industries and during world-changing moments? Dr. Pete provides concrete tactics for adaptive keyword research and spotting trends as they happen.

1:45pm – Stream 1 – A Novel Approach to Scraping SEO Data

Rob Ousbey, VP Product, Moz

Throughout a decade in SEO consulting, Rob needed to extract data from websites on many an occasion. Often this was at scale from sites that didn’t have an API or export feature, or on sites that required some kind of authentication. While this was primarily a way to collect & combine data from different SEO tools, the use-cases were endless.

He found a technique that helped immensely, particularly when traditional tools couldn’t do the job — but hadn’t seen anyone using the same approach. In this very tactical session, Rob will walk through the steps he’s used to extract data from all sorts of sites, from small fry to the giants, and give you the tools and knowledge to do the same.

1:45pm – Stream 2 – Let It Go: How to Embrace Automation and Get Way More Done

Francine Rodriguez, Manager of Customer Success, WordStream

Let the robot uprising begin! We’ve all heard horror stories about the dangers of automating your tasks, but now is not the time to deny yourself extra help. Robots never sleep. They don’t get tired or overwhelmed by their to-do lists, and they’re ready to work round-the-clock to accomplish whatever task we set before them. In this talk, you’ll explore all the areas were automation is kicking butt in PPC — and how you can harness the power of robots to make more time for other efforts.

2:35pm – Keynote – Designing a Content Engine: Going from Ideation to Creation to Distribution

Ross Simmonds, CEO, Foundation

What does it take to develop a content engine that drives results? In this presentation, Ross will share data around the power of having a content engine, tools & strategies for content ideation, tools and tactics for content creation, and frameworks that brands can use to ensure that their content is distributed effectively after hitting publish. This presentation will help you not only uncover content-market fit, but also capitalize on it.

3:30pm – Networking

Open time for attendees to connect with other attendees and MozCon partners.

4:30pm — Day One is in the books!


Wednesday, July 15th


8:30am – Networking

Open time for attendees to connect with other attendees and MozCon partners.

9:00am – Welcome to Day Two!

Cyrus Shepard, emcee

9:10am – Keynote – Accessible Machine Learning Workflows for SEOs

Britney Muller, Senior SEO Scientist, Moz

“Machine learning” and “automation” aren’t words SEOs need to fear. Machine learning enthusiast and ambassador of technical SEO Britney Muller shares a series of workflows intended for any SEO to access and use in their everyday work — no intimidation required.

9:55am – Stream 1 – How to Be Ahead of the (CTR) Curve

Izzi Smith, Technical SEO Analyst, Ryte

Let’s face it: Carrying out SEO magic is all in vain when you’re forgetting about how your brand and products are being surfaced in the SERPs. By not properly analyzing or enhancing our organic CTR, we’re greatly limiting our potential. Izzi will help you create the perfect SERP engagement strategy by covering practical ways to uplift your significant CTR, such as remedying your critical keyword rankings that could soon be lost, leveraging brand-empowering entity features (and assessing the risks of doing so), more intelligent testing of rich & featured snippet optimizations, and a whole lot more. CTR-you-ready?? You better be!

9:55am – Stream 2 – How to Go Beyond Marketing for Clients: The Value of a Thriving Brand Ecosystem

Flavilla Fongang, Brand Strategist, 3 Colours Rule

Too many marketers serve their clients the bare minimum of what’s expected from an agency. To stand out among the crowd, cultivate real loyalty, and maximize the lifetime value of your clients, you have to go beyond mere marketing — developing a thriving brand ecosystem that aligns with the brand’s ultimate goals. Flavilla Fongang shares her tried-and-true framework for optimizing the customer journey, improving acquisition and retention, and going beyond what’s expected to serve your clients well.

10:50am – Stream 1 – How to Promote Your Content Like a Boss

Brian Dean, Founder, Backlinko

Creating content is easy. But getting people to see your content? That’s a different story. Brian Dean shares over a dozen practical strategies that you can use to spread the word about your latest blog post, podcast episode, or YouTube video.

10:50am – Stream 2 – Google My Business: Battling Bad Info & Safeguarding Your Search Strategy

Joy Hawkins, Owner, Sterling Sky Inc.

What’s the harm in a little misinformation here and there? In the realm of local SEO, Joy Hawkins is here to outline exactly that. When it comes to local search and Google My Business, bad info can be make or break for your campaigns. Follow real data from a recent case study that illustrates why strategic decisions should be based on accurate information — and what can happen when that info is bad, wrong, or just plain incomplete.

11:45am – Birds of a Feather discussion groups

Connect and chat with like-minded marketers on a wide range of digital marketing topics!

12:10pm – Keynote – Runtime: The 3-Ring Circus of Technical SEO

Michael King, Managing Director, iPullRank

Mike redefined technical SEO and its importance in our industry back in 2016. In 2018, he taught us everything we didn’t know about SEO. This year, he’s back to share the hottest technical tactics to up-level your efforts, plus the case studies and data that should be guiding your decisions.

1:25pm – Stream 1 – Everyday Automation for Marketers

David Sottimano, Independent Marketing Consultant, Opensource.org

As a general rule, we shouldn’t be doing things that a computer can do better. However, a lot of automation is achieved through programming expertise — and that expertise isn’t usually a marketer’s forte. In this session, you’ll learn how to gather data, use machine learning, and automate everyday tasks for marketers using low-code or no-code solutions.

1:25pm – Stream 2 – Red Flags: Use a Discovery Process to Go from Red Flags to Green Lights

Dana DiTomaso, President and Partner, Kick Point

Ever get a few months into working with a new client and you’re thinking “if only we’d known…”? Or how about when you start that new job, except you can’t seem to make any forward progress because you’re always mopping up prior mistakes? Running a discovery process at the start of a project — or even as its own project — will help you turn those red flags into green lights.

2:20pm – Stream 1 – Competitive Advantage in a Commoditized Industry

Heather Physioc, Group Connections Director, Discoverability, VMLY&R

SEO isn’t dead — it’s commoditized. In a world where search companies are a dime a dozen and brands tout bland “unique selling propositions” that aren’t unique at all, how can you avoid drowning in the sea of sameness? What are you doing that’s any different from every other SEO firm? In this talk, you’ll learn how to find, activate, and articulate your competitive advantage. Learn how to identify unique strengths and innovative offerings that equate to competitive advantage through these real, working examples so you can bring them to life in search. You’ll leave with actionable tips and homework to help your search business stand out — and that you can use with clients to help them find their competitive edge, too.

2:20pm – Stream 1 – I Wanna Be Rich: Making Your Consultancy Profitable

Russ Jones, Principal Search Scientist, Moz

How will your company weather the next update? How will you avoid layoffs and salary cuts? Being a master of SEO doesn’t guarantee that your consultancy will succeed. After a decade and a half of experience, Russ Jones will outline the techniques that will keep your clients happy and your bottom line healthy.

3:10pm – Keynote – The CMO Role Has Been Disrupted: Are You Ready for Your New Boss?

Will Reynolds, Founder & Vice President of Innovation, Seer Interactive

CMOs have the shortest tenure in the c-suite, and the CMO role has been eliminated at some of the largest brands. CEOs are now asking tougher and tougher questions about the value of marketing — and oftentimes marketers are not prepared.

Connecting your data and building your data flywheel is one way to support the swift answers CEOs expect from their CMOs. We need to get stronger at bridging our day-to-day work to the value it drives. And more than ever, “brand lift” isn’t enough to satisfy CEOs.

This presentation will start at the top. How businesses are run, how CEOs talk, and how we as search marketers can use the data we have access to everyday in new ways to answer the questions of the c-suite and raise our visibility and value in organizations.

4:15pm – Networking

Open time for attendees to connect with other attendees and MozCon partners.

5:15pm – That’s a wrap for MozCon Virtual 2020!


See you there?

Chatting with speakers via Q&A, connecting with peers and potential partners over Birds of a Feather groups, absorbing all the knowledge for another fruitful year of marketing… we can’t wait to share it with you! 

Yep, I’m going to MozCon Virtual!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Thank you for reading.

2020 Social Media Marketing Industry Report

This may be of some interest.

Wondering how fellow marketers are using social media? Want to know what marketers plan to do with organic social activities, video marketing, and social ads? In our 12th annual social media study, we surveyed more than 5,200 marketers who reveal details you won’t find anywhere else. How Are Marketers Using Social Media? To understand how […]

The post 2020 Social Media Marketing Industry Report appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Thank you for reading.

How to Create an SEO Strategy for 2020 [Template Included]

This may be of some interest.

Here’s a cliche among digital marketers: Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t what it used to be.

Here’s a true statement you don’t hear as often: Your SEO strategy for 2019 shouldn’t focus on keywords.

These days, most businesses understand the basic concepts of SEO and why it’s important.

However, when it comes to developing and executing a sound SEO strategy for your business, just creating content for the keywords your customers are searching for is both arduous and, well, wrong.

What is an SEO?

Search engine optimizers (SEOs) are people who optimize websites to help them show up higher on search engines and gain more “organic traffic.” In essence, an SEO is a highly specialized content strategist, and helps a business discover opportunities to answer questions people have about the industry via search engines.

Here are three types of SEO that an SEO strategist can focus on:

  • On-page SEO: This SEO focuses on the content that’s “on the page,” and how to optimize that content to help boost the website’s ranking for specific keywords.
  • Off-page SEO: This SEO focuses on the links that are directing to the website from elsewhere on the internet. The number of “backlinks,” and the publishers carrying those links, that link to your website help you build trust in the eyes of a search engine. This causes your website to rank higher as a result.
  • Technical SEO: This SEO focuses on a website’s architecture, examining the backend of that website to see how each webpage is “technically” set up. Google cares as much about the code of a website as it does its content, making this speciality quite important to a website’s search engine ranking.

Bear in mind that not every business can optimize their website for search the same way, and therefore not every SEO will have the same optimization process. It’s an SEO’s job to examine his or her industry, find out what’s important to their audience, and develop an SEO strategy that puts the right content in front of that audience.

With that in mind, here are nine steps you can take to make sure all of your SEO bases are covered in 2019. Then, at the bottom of this blog post, you can grab your free planning template to master on-page SEO.

1. Make a list of topics.

Keywords are at the heart of SEO, but they’re actually not your first step to an organic growth play anymore. Your first step is to make a list of topics you’d like to cover from one month to the next.

To start, compile a list of about 10 short words and terms associated with your product or service. Use Google’s Keyword Tool to identify their search volume and come up with variations that make sense for your business.

You are associating these topics with popular short-tail keywords, as you can tell, but you’re not dedicating individual blog posts to these keywords. These keywords are simply too competitive to rank highly for on Google if you’re just starting to optimize your website for search. We’ll go over how to use these topics in just a minute.

google adwords keyword tool screenshot resized 600

Using search volume and competition as your measure, narrow down your list to 10-15 short-tail keywords that are important to you, and that people within your audience are searching for. Then rank this list in order of priority, based on its monthly search volume and its relevance to your business.

For example, if a swimming pool business is trying to rank for “fiberglass pools” — which is receiving 110,000 searches per month — this short-tail keyword can be the one that represents the overarching topic on which they want to create content. The business would then identify a series of long-tail keywords that relate to this short-tail keyword, have reasonable monthly search volume, and help to elaborate on the topic of fiberglass pools. We’ll talk more about these long-tails in the next step of this process.

Each of these keywords is called a “pillar,” and it serves as the primary support for a larger “cluster” of long-tail keywords, which is what brings us to our next Step …

2. Make a list of long-tail keywords based on these topics.

Here’s where you’ll start optimizing your pages for specific keywords. For each pillar you’ve identified, use your keyword tool to identify five to 10 long-tail keywords that dig deeper into the original topic keyword.

For example, we regularly create content on the topic of “SEO,” but it’s still very difficult to rank well on Google for such a popular topic on this acronym alone. We also risk competing with our own content by creating multiple pages that are all targeting the exact same keyword — and potentially the same search engine results page (SERP). Therefore, we also create content on conducting keyword research, optimizing images for search engines, creating an SEO strategy (which you’re reading right now), and other subtopics within SEO.

This allows a business to attract people who have varying interests in and concerns about owning their product — and ultimately create more entry points for people who are interested in buying something.

Use subtopics to come up with blog post or webpage ideas that explain a specific concept within each larger topic you identified in Step 1. Plug these subtopics into your keyword research tool to identify long-tail keywords on which to base each blog post.

Together, these subtopics create a cluster. So, if you have 10 pillar topics, they should each be prepared to support one cluster of five to 10 subtopics. This SEO model is called a “topic cluster,” and modern search engine algorithms depend on them to connect users with the information they’re looking for.

Here’s a short video on this concept:

Think of it this way: The more specific your content, the more specific the needs of your audience are — and the more likely you’ll convert this traffic into leads. This is how Google finds value in the websites it crawls; the pages that dig into the interworkings of a general topic are seen as the best answer to a person’s query, and will rank higher.

3. Build pages for each topic.

When it comes to websites and ranking in search engines, trying to get one page to rank for a handful of keywords can be next to impossible. But here’s where the rubber meets the road:

Take the 10 pillar topics you came up with in Step 1 and create a web page for each one that outlines the topic at a high level — using the long-tail keywords you came up with for each cluster in Step 2. A pillar page on SEO, for example, can describe SEO in brief sections that introduce keyword research, image optimization, SEO strategy, and other subtopics as they are identified. Think of each pillar page as a table of contents, where you’re briefing your readers on subtopics you’ll elaborate on in blog posts.

Use your keyword list to determine how many different pillar pages you should create. Ultimately, the number of topics for which you create pillar pages should coincide with how many different products, offerings, and locations your business has. This will make it much easier for your prospects and customers to find you in search engines no matter what keywords they use.

Each web page needs to include relevant content for your prospects and customers and should include pictures and links to pages on your site to enhance the user experience. We’ll talk about those links in Step 4.

4. Set up a blog.

Blogging can be an incredible way to rank for keywords and engage your website’s users. After all, every blog post is a new web page that gives you another chance to rank in search engines. If your business does not already have a blog, set one up. This is where you’ll elaborate on each subtopic and actually start showing up on Google.

As you write each blog post and fill up your clusters, you should do three things:

  1. First, don’t include your long-tail keyword more than three or four times throughout the page. Google doesn’t consider exact keyword matches as often as it used to. In fact, too many instances of your keyword can be a red flag to search engines that you’re “keyword stuffing.” This can penalize your website and drop your rank.
  2. Second, link out to the pillar page you created on this topic. You can do this in the form of tags in your content management system (CMS), or as basic anchor text in the body of the article.
  3. Once you publish each blog post, link into it from the pillar page that supports this subtopic. Find the point in your pillar page that introduces this blog’s subtopic, and link it here.

By connecting both the pillar and the cluster in this way, you’re telling Google there’s a relationship between the long-tail keyword and the overarching topic you’re trying to rank for.

5. Blog every week to develop page authority.

Not every blog post or web page you write needs to belong to a topic cluster. There’s also value in writing about tangential topics your customers care about in order to give your website authority in the eyes of Google. This will cue Google to pay extra attention your domain as you add content to your primary topics.

With that in mind, make a point to blog at least once a week. Remember, you are blogging primarily for your audience, not the search engines. Write about things your audience and/or prospects are interested in, make sure you’re including relevant keywords where appropriate, and your audience will slowly start to notice and click.

Keep in mind that each topic won’t be equal in importance, and as your clusters get off the ground, you’ll need to prioritize based on your company’s needs. So, create a list of all the different web pages you would like to create and rank them. Then, develop a schedule and devise a plan of attack to get those pages built.

Keep your list updated and prioritized by what web pages will help you to best achieve your business goals.

6. Create a link-building plan.

The topic cluster model is your way forward in SEO this year, but it’s not the only way to get your website content to rank higher once it’s been created.

Our first five steps were dedicated to on-page SEO tactics. Link-building is the primary objective of off-page SEO, and is also a huge factor in how search engines rank your web pages. What is link-building? Glad you asked.

Link-building is the process of attracting inbound links (also called “backlinks”) to your website from elsewhere on the web. As a general rule, the more page authority the origin website has, the bigger affect it will have on the rank of the web page to which it is linking.

Dedicate some time to brainstorm all the different ways you can attract inbound links to your website. Start small –- maybe share your links with other local businesses in exchange for links to their sites. Write a few blog posts and share them on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Consider approaching other bloggers for guest blogging opportunities through which you can link back to your website.

Another great way to attract inbound links is to use your blog to post articles related to current events or news. That way, you have shot of getting linked to from an industry influencer or other bloggers in your industry.

7. Compress all media before putting it on your website.

This is a small but important step in the SEO process. As your blog or website grows, you’ll undoubtedly have more images, videos, and related media to host there. These visual assets can help retain your visitors’ attention, but it’s easy to forget these assets are still technically computer files — and computer files have file sizes.

As a general rule, the bigger the file size, the harder it is for an internet browser to render your website. And it just so happens that page speed is one of the most important ranking factors when search engines decide where to place your content in its index.

So, the smaller the file size, the faster your website will load, and the higher you can rank on Google as a result. But how do you shrink a file size once it’s on your computer?

If you’re looking to upload an image to a blog post, for example, examine the file for its file size first. If it’s anywhere in megabyte (MB) territory, even just 1 MB, it’s a good idea to use an image compression tool to reduce the file size before uploading it to your blog. Sites like TinyPNG make it easy to compress images in bulk, while Google’s very own Squoosh has been known to shrink image file sizes to microscopic levels.

Ultimately, keeping your files in the kilobytes (KB) can sufficiently protect your website’s page speed.

Be careful when compressing your images, and check the file’s actual size once you export it back to your computer. While some tools might not be true to the size it shows you, others can sacrifice some image quality when compressing the artwork.

8. Stay current on SEO news & practices.

Like the overall marketing landscape, the search engine space is ever-evolving. Staying on top of current trends and best practices is a difficult task, but there are multiple online resources that can make it easy for you to stay on top of SEO news and changes that may impact your website and your SEO strategy.

Here are a few resources to check out:

  1. SEOmoz
  2. SEOBook
  3. Search Engine Roundtable
  4. Search Engine Land
  5. Diggity Marketing
  6. This Blog!

9. Measure and track your content’s success.

SEO can take a lot of time and effort. What good is spending all this time and effort if you can’t see the fruits of your labor? There are many metrics you can track on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to keep your SEO plan on track and measure your success.

Because the metric you care about is organic traffic (traffic that comes from a given search engine), seek out a tool that allows you to track both your overall organic traffic number and how your pages are ranking under each long-tail keyword your pages are targeting. SEMrush is a great reporting tool for just this purpose.

Create a monthly dashboard using Excel, Google Sheets, or a web analytics package so you can monitor how much traffic comes to your website from organic search.

Also, tracking indexed pages, leads, ROI, inbound links, keywords, and your actual ranking on SERPs (search engine results pages) can help you recognize your success as well as identify areas of opportunity.

SEO Process

Once you create your monthly SEO plan, you should also build a process to continue to optimizing it to fit new intent and keywords. Here are a few steps you can take. 

1. Historically optimize your content. 

Devote some time each month to updating old blog posts with new and up to date information so it continues to rank in SERPs. You can also use this time to add any SEO optimization that wasn’t in the original post, such as missing alt text.

2. Look out for changing keywords and new search intent.

After a few months, track where your blog posts are ranking and which keywords they’re ranking for. This can help you adjust subheads or text to leverage that new keyword ranking.

3. Add more editorial value to your old content.

Sometimes, you’ll find that a post is completely out of date. In this scenario, you should go beyond the average SEO update and give it a full refresher. You can do this by updating out of date information or stats, adding new sections that add depth to the post, or adding quotes or original data that can make the post gain more referral traffic.

4. Note new content and updates aimed at SEO in a monthly content plan.

To keep up with your SEO strategy, it can be helpful to create and refine a monthly content strategy. Then put your content plan into a spreadsheet or document that your team can monitor and track easily.

Below is an example of a content monthly content planning process that takes the steps above into account. 

With a monthly SEO plan like the one above, plus a tracking document like a search insights report, you can build out and execute on an efficient SEO strategy. You can also identify and leverage low-hanging-fruit topics to discuss related to your industry.

To learn more about SEO, check out our Ultimate Guide to SEO

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in April 2019 but was updated in March 2020 for consistency and freshness.

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Storm Area 51 festival venue announces 2020 dates

This may be of some interest.

Storm Area 51 festival venue announces 2020 dates

Get ready to storm Area 51 all over again — Alienstock is coming back for round two. 

Hopefully, at least. 

The Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel, Nevada announced “Rachel Alienstock 2020” on its website recently. Aside from dates announced — Sept. 10, 11, and 12 — there are no other details. The “clickable link” is only an email address. 

Storm Area 51 festival venue announces 2020 dates

Image: screenshot via the little a’le’inn

The Little A’Le’Inn, a small motel near the back gate to Area 51, hosted one of three alien-themed festivals inspired by the “Storm Area 51: They Can’t Stop All Of Us” Facebook page meme last year.  Read more…

More about Area 51, Alienstock, Culture, and Web Culture

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How to watch the 2020 Democratic debate on ABC live for free without cable

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The eighth Democratic primary debate will be held at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Okay, so it hasn’t been the best week for Democrats. After the debacle in Iowa on Tuesday and the failed impeachment vote on Wednesday, it seems the only thing left to do is continue the march toward November and the 2020 presidential election. That march will resume tonight (Friday, February 7) with the eighth Democratic primary debate—which will be held at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, ahead of that state’s primary next Tuesday. Seven candidates have qualified to participate, meaning the stage will be considerably less crowded than it has been at past debates.

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2020 New Year’s resolution: How to eat better and master your nutrition

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You don’t need to cut out food to feel better. Just focus on the ones that are right for you.

“Lose weight,” “eat less junk food,” and “stick to a diet” top plenty of New Year’s resolution lists, but many experts say that these goals may set unrealistic expectations and set you up for failure before February even hits. Instead, doctors and registered dietician say that a more sustainable approach to managing weight, feeling good, and changing eating habits is to focus on identifying which foods nourish your body and give you the proper fuel you need to live a great life. So to jumpstart 2020, we rounded up some of the best products to help you eat well and feel your very best.

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Essential Web Design Stats for 2020 [New Research]

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As people spend more and more time online, the role of the web designer has become increasingly crucial.

As a web designer, it’s your job to stay on top of new techniques, technologies, and tricks that continue to emerge at a phenomenal rate. Additionally, you also need to run your business — including finding clients, filing accounts, and potentially hiring and managing staff.

Whether you’re a web designer or considering hiring one for your company, it’s critical you know about the current challenges and opportunities in the web design industry.

Here, we’ll cover some of the most essential web design stats for 2020 from Sitejet’s new State of Web Design survey for 2020 and beyond.

Biggest Challenges & Pain Points

We’ve touched on it already, but when it comes to daily challenges, customer acquisition is far and away the most commonly cited pain point.

In fact, nearly half of web designers say that, more than any other aspect of their job, they find it hard to discover new clients.

The next most commonly cited pain point was profitability and pricing, while other responses such as keeping up with industry standards (10%), time management (8%), difficult clients (7%), and team management (2%) lagged way behind.

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Things Web Designers Love

Unsurprisingly, when asked about their favorite parts of web design, the overwhelming majority focused on the creative process.

The actual process of building beautiful websites is what attracts most people into the profession, and it seems fair to say that it’s what keeps them motivated years later.

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Things Web Designers Dislike

When asked what they dislike about the web design process, customer acquisition was again the most common reply. This was followed up by just under one in four web designers who say that managing the business is their least favorite part of the job.

These results, when evaluated together, tell us that web designers tend to enjoy the creative parts of the role, but are forced to reluctantly take up the ‘other bits’ such as marketing and management, to help facilitate what they really love to do.

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How long does it take to create a website from scratch? 

In essence, the ‘product’ that web designers sell is their time. And, since so many cite concerns over profitability in pricing, it’s interesting to consider how many hours it actually takes to build a website with modern tools and technology.

The results here could hardly be more evenly split, with a wide and varied response. Incredibly, while one in five web designers say they typically build websites in 10 hours or less, one in 10 told us they take 61 hours or more.

However, the majority (60%) of respondents settled around the mid-range, between 11-20 (31%) and 21-40 hours (29%).

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How often do web designers update their clients’ sites?

In the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “Art is never finished — only abandoned.” That’s the case with great websites, too. After those hours invested in the initial build, web designers often have to continue running and managing their clients’ websites, actioning changes, communicating with clients, and generally keeping the websites they build fresh and up-to-date.

In fact, only 11% of web designers say their clients have the ability to update their own websites once built.

When asked how often they typically have to update their clients’ websites, the numbers again vary wildly. However, more than seven in 10 web designers say it’s at least quarterly, with the most commonly cited response (30%) claiming that they typically update client websites on a monthly basis.

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How do web designers communicate with their clients? 

For around 90% of web designers, there’s some element of ongoing client communication and collaboration. How is that managed?

The research suggests that the vast majority of client communication takes place via email, which is used by 96% of web designers. 83% supplement that with phone or video calls, while the numbers for SMS (29%), project management systems (15%), file transfer tools (15%) design platforms (14%) and Slack (13%) lag way behind.

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When we asked web designers to just select the main communication channel they used, around three-quarters chose email, followed by 16% who selected phone.

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In short, there seems to be a huge reliance on email.

How do web designers get new clients?

Ultimately, customer acquisition is a major challenge cited by a huge number of web designers.

It’s interesting, then, to consider which channels they feel are most effective at bringing them new business.

The
runaway leader here is word-of-mouth marketing, cited by 71% of respondents as being their number one channel for finding new clients.

Others have dabbled in content marketing and SEO (6%), social tools like Facebook (3%) and LinkedIn (1%), and email marketing (4%) but these are comparatively small numbers.

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How do consumers browse the web?

The Sitejet study didn’t just quiz web designers about their daily work. It also asked for the thoughts and opinions of the everyday web consumer.

We all know that mobile browsing is a big deal, but, interestingly, it feels like rumors of the death of desktop have been greatly exaggerated. When asked how respondents mainly browse the web, over 70% of respondents told us they mainly browse on desktop.

Of course, that’s not to say that they don’t also browse on mobile — but with so many people browsing mainly on desktop, it’s important to not put all your eggs into one basket.

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The importance of usability …

Usability is one of the big buzzwords in modern web design and it’s unsurprising that it seems to have such a big effect on website users. This mainly applies to responsiveness, design quality, and load speed.

We found that:

  • 93% of people have left a website because it didn’t display properly on their device.
  • 90% of people have left a website because it was badly designed.
  • 93% of people have left because a website didn’t load quickly enough.

Ultimately, these results demonstrate the critical importance of usability for any website’s long-term success.

In summary …

That’s a lot of numbers, right? Here are the key takeaways:

  • Web designers are ‘reluctant administrators’ who love to create – much more than they love to manage and market their businesses!
  • There’s an insanely wide variance in how much work is involved in creating and managing websites, and it’s difficult to shake the feeling that a lot of web designers are spending way longer than they need to on their work. This potentially explains why around a quarter of web designers struggle with profitability and pricing.
  • Email, for all its faults, remains THE dominant communication channel for web designers to work with their clients.
  • Desktop browsing is far from dead, with a size-able chunk of the online population still browsing mainly on desktop, rather than mobile or tablet.
  • Tolerance for shabby design, sluggish performance or unresponsive design is at an all time low, with more than 9 out of 10 people admitting they won’t hang around on a website that doesn’t tick these boxes.

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6 Cannes Revelations About B2B Marketing in 2020

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City of Cannes Aerial view Image

City of Cannes Aerial view Image

In June the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity brought together some of the world’s savviest B2B marketers, brands, and other creative professionals.

From Nike, IKEA, and Visa to Tommy Hilfiger, Microsoft and Target, strong brands and the marketers behind them were involved at Cannes, and the trends they gathered to explore will play a part in shaping how B2B marketers focus their efforts in the months and years ahead.

Here’s a run-down of some of the top B2B marketing and other revelations from this year’s Cannes, and what they’ll mean for your business in 2020 and beyond.

1 — Cannes B2B Marketing Brand Engagement Take-Aways

Brand Engagement Gear Cogs Image

One running theme at Cannes this year was centered around being mindful of your brand’s purpose, and how it will be especially important when it comes time to meet your audience’s needs and make the greatest impact.

Being a change-maker brand comes from honing in on consumer desires, so listen to the signals coming from the online platforms where your customers and potential clients spend the majority of their time.

Don’t entirely eschew machine learning when it comes to your data, but build brand trust by ensuring that appropriate and responsible humans have data oversight.

Look to feed off competitive momentum and focus conversations and cultural discussions using creativity, and keep it sincere when it comes to brand activism, while avoiding all hints of opportunism, many at Cannes urged.

Brand engagement, especially through influencer marketing, has been the focus of several recent articles we’ve published, including these:

2 — Cannes B2B Marketing Consumer Journey Take-Aways

Happy people and dog jumping together on the sunset beach Image

Dig in and embrace the sometimes-messy digital world where your potential customers interact, by communicating with them and taking the time to learn about their lives through what they’re posting online, because cold and impersonal data can only get you so far in the customer journey.

These raw and real connections can unite and forge new relationships in ways that polished marketing campaigns sometimes just can’t, and some of the winners at Cannes showed examples of building these types of connections.

Build strong brand value while also allowing customers to take the wheel, nurture the connections your brand makes, and don’t be afraid to build strong creative partnerships in your efforts.

Valuing the participation of consumers while also standing by your brand’s values were among the trends explored during Cannes this year.

Search taking place from smart speakers and other connected voice-assisted is poised to boom in the coming years, and podcasting is expanding to offer new ways to integrate brand messaging.

Strive to build a seamless voice search approach that meshes with the values and messaging of your brand or that of your client, as sound is the newest frontier for B2B marketers.

We’re written about smart search recently, including in these helpful articles:

[bctt tweet=”“We’re very good at doing marketing on screens. We’re not as good at audio only.” — Bessie Lee, Founder and CEO, Withinlink” username=”toprank”]

3 — Cannes B2B Marketing Diversity Take-Aways

Colorful diverse finger prints image.

Cannes made efforts to find and highlight the areas in marketing where diversity continues to be lacking, led by people over 50 and those who are differently-abled, and spent considerable time exploring how setting aside fear and risk can lead to huge economic and strategic opportunities.

Going beyond hiring, diversity should move towards being more of a core piece of a brand’s values, some of those gathered at Cannes noted.

Adding diversity key performance indicators (KPIs) to existing performance metrics would go a long way towards making inclusiveness an important part of opportunity pipelines, and ultimately bottom lines, it was noted during Cannes.

4 — Cannes B2B Marketing Long-Term Planning Take-Aways

Mountain hiker with map at guideposts.

Connections coming from unexpected places and new experiences are poised to change how B2B marketers expand beyond traditional sources, and an emphasis on the power of creativity to strengthen organizations was made at Cannes.

Brands and how they reflect culture at large will become more of a joint initiative at successful firms and in strong marketing efforts, especially in creative campaigns.

Cannes showed that creativity will likely thrive in the coming year, even more-so when it’s increasingly expressed as a team effort, done in what some gathered for the week called real-time branding, with all involved having a creative stake in new marketing initiatives.

Having a relevant and flexible B2B marketing strategy, and building innovative creative methods whether working solo or with an agency, were also take-aways from Cannes this year.

We’ve explored both long-term planning and the question of when is the right time to partner with an agency, in recent articles such as these:

[bctt tweet=”“The value of agency creative is $10 Billion.” — Jay Pattisall, Forrester @jaypattisall” username=”toprank”]

5 — Cannes B2B Marketing Storytelling Take-Aways

Share Your Story image.

At Cannes a more transformational flavor of storytelling was seen as coming down the pike, one that will help evolve the narrative with more levels of both client and customer experience, all combining to bring better communication to consumers.

Rapidly-expanding digital technologies and more data than ever present challenges, but also massive opportunities, especially when the two combine to help creative storytelling efforts that help drive B2B marketing efforts.

Creating compelling narratives and delivering them in new and relevant ways will play a factor in marketing in 2020 and beyond, and firms utilizing solely technology to overcome marketing barriers may be left behind.

Learning to better recognize the people behind the data and the numbers was also seen as a key trend at Cannes, along with greater incorporation of empathy and intuition in marketing processes.

Neuroaesthetics and an evolving method of storytelling that is always-on will expand on traditional forms of narratives that have been largely limited to a beginning, middle, and end.

Micro-storytelling efforts will also help brands shows that they are listening, and encourage consumers to create and share their own stories.

A few of our helpful looks at storytelling in marketing are these:

6 — Cannes Trust in B2B Marketing Take-Aways

Hand turning trust dial image.

We’ve focused more than ever on trust in marketing over the past year at TopRank Marketing, with pieces such as these:

At Cannes the power of trust played a major role this year, and how to regain it using transparency, authenticity, and empathy, after being compromised over the past several years in the eyes of many.

A theme that resonated throughout the week was that nothing secures a relationship as powerfully as trust, which is the cornerstone of any long-term partnership.

Trust in platforms and technology were also at the forefront on Cannes this year, and admonitions to shift to marketing strategies that are more real, open, transparent, and true were common themes for rebuilding broken trust.

[bctt tweet=”As the old adage goes: Trust is gained in drops and lost in buckets. #B2BMarketing #trust” username=”toprank”]

Building on Marketing Lessons From Cannes

via GIPHY

These six major theme take-aways in the areas of brand engagement, customer journeys, diversity, long-term planning, storytelling and trust from this year’s Cannes can play a part in your own B2B marketing strategy as we head ever-closer to 2020.

You can also learn more by joining us at upcoming speaking events and conferences. Our CEO Lee Odden will be speaking at Content Marketing World this fall, where on September 3 he’ll be presenting “How to Develop a B2B Influencer Marketing Program That Actually Works” with Amisha Gandhi of SAP, and a solo session on September 4 exploring “Content Marketing Fitness – 10 Exercises to Build Your Marketing Beach Body.”

Our Senior Director of Digital Strategy Ashley Zeckman will also be speaking at Content Marketing World, in “Guardians of Content Vol 1: How to Scale B2B Influencer Content to Save the Galaxy.”

The post 6 Cannes Revelations About B2B Marketing in 2020 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Trump tweeted a bizarre 2020 hype video set to music from 'The Dark Knight Rises'

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TwitterFacebook

Donald Trump is seeking re-election in 2020, and in case you had any doubts he tweeted a painfully bizarre hype video to confirm.

The two-minute-long video displays the words “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they call you racist. Donald J. Trump. Your vote proved them all wrong.”

 It’s also set to music from The Dark Knight Rises? OK!

The video features dramatic music and clips from Trump’s time in office, along with footage of Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Rosie O’Donnell, Bryan Cranston, Amy Schumer, Kim Jong-un, and more. Why? Unclear!

More about Twitter, Politics, Donald Trump, Web Culture, and 2020 Election

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