It’s my birthday and I have some great news!
In January of 2011, I said that I’d make our Internet Marketing Posts of 2011 subscriber only. And I did. Many loyal readers have checked in on the newsletter throughout 2011 to get both evergreen content, the content that typically embraces these monthly updates, in addition to something completely new, monthly digital trends – the stuff you use for presentations and proposals, for arguing that social media and online marketing does have a firm place in today’s landscape. The newsletter, which was sent within the first week of the month, would include new research findings from surveys conducted by research groups such as the Pew Research Center, new discoveries from a marketing firm’s eye tracking study, or data that was recently culled across a multitude of SEO agency case study reports.
This year, I am pleased to bring back our Best Internet Marketing Posts of 2011 thanks to an excellent sponsor, HubSpot. HubSpot has recently launched a most amazing Marketing Grader tool to help you measure the effectiveness of your website. Please be sure to check it out as it’s one of the best tools I’ve ever seen, and I would be saying that even if they weren’t a sponsor!
And now, here’s what you’ve all been waiting for: the evergreen portion of my Internet Marketing best posts delivered straight to your doorstep on my birthday as you’ve come to expect year after year. Want the trends, news, and findings too? Sign up right now at a totally reduced cost for 2012 for a limited time.
- Quick and Dirty Competitive Research for Keywords: If you’re looking for keywords to target in your SEO campaign, this guide will tell you what to do with available online tools and websites.
- Internal Linking: The Benefits of Great Information Architecture for SEO: Sometimes you don’t have to beg other webmasters to link to you. Consider focusing your link building tactics internally — that is, on your site. Breadcrumbs, navigation, and related pages are a great way to start.
- Does Google PageRank Really Matter?: The answer is no, but it’s still a metric that is close to Larry Page’s heart. Think instead about social media traffic, good content, a cleanly coded website, slow progressive growth, and your site’s authority.
- SEO Checklist: 60 Essential Checks Before Launching a Website: Is your site ready to be launched? Ask these questions and then answer them.
- The Meta Description Tag: Are you using the meta description tag effectively on your websites? Here are some applications of meta tags and arguments as to why you should be using them.
- How to Do an SEO Audit: How well is your newest SEO client’s practices? Do an audit to find out. This audit will cover their keywords targeted, tools used, site architecture, backlinks, and other elements to make sure you have a full understanding of what the client needs to take action and do better.
- 10 Metrics to Check When Your Traffic Crashes: With Google consistently trying to provide the best search experience, your rankings may fall at any time. This is how you can evaluate where it happened.
- 12 Popular Keyword Organization Tips and Tools: This post contains a list of tools that help organize some unruly keyword lists and includes tools like Ad Group Filter, RKG Duck, Wordstream Keyword Grouper, Spyfu Keyword Groupie (obviously using a different “keyword group” name not to infringe on any copyrights or trademarks!), and a number of others.
- A Guide to Geocoding Images for Local SEO: Image optimization is a big part of a cohesive SEO strategy. Wouldn’t you want your image to be associated with local places? This is the article you need to make that happen.
- User Friendly SEO: These are the tactics that search engine optimizers should use to optimize for search engines and user experience.
- 8 Necessary SEO Steps During a Website Redesign: Every so often, we have to redesign our site. But how do we make sure the search traffic we had stays intact? Auditing the site and working out which keywords and links are the top performers is a given.
- The Heart of SEO: 8 Everlasting Truths: This is misleading; this is only part 1 so it has 4 truths. Part 2 hasn’t been posted as of the compilation of this report, but you should know that SEO is about a strong brand, that you must perform research, real value produces great results, and you must understand where to circulate the message to get the best results.
- Technical SEO: Tools and Approach: Which technical factors matter for SEO? This is a review of what tools (e.g. wget, curl, Xenu, etc.) can help you assess how well your website is performing technically.
- Duplicate Content in a Post Panda World: Duplicate content poses a problem for SEO because when two pages share the same content, one page may get indexed (the one you don’t necessarily want, perhaps) while the other gets hidden. This post is a somewhat technical approach toward dealing with duplicate content issues. It’s pretty exhaustive too. There’s even a 22 page PDF of the article in case you wanted to take it with you.
- New Edition of the Ranking Factors for 2011 is Now Live!: SEOmoz recently came out with a survey that asked many practitioners their experience with keyword rankings. This data is compiled here. This is the newest data since 2009.
- The Ultimate Guide to Keyword Research: …and the tools you need to use to do a great job.
- Small Business SEO: 46 Experts on the Biggest Mistakes SMBs Make with SEO (and How to Avoid Them): What have small businesses done wrong in the ways of SEO? DIYSEO asked 46 experts who weighed in on many things, from forgetting a local focus, doing too much at one time, having bad quality links, not optimizing their online listings, and much more.
- How To Take Your Keyword Research to a Higher Level: This post explores what differentiates quality keyword research from the junk that you get from a tool. Yes, it will take time. Yes, you’ll be happy with the results.
- Infographic: SEO Salary Guide: If you’re looking for general salaries for SEO, this infographic might tell you what you can expect to be paid on average by city. If you’re looking for a good salary, you may wish to relocate.
- SEO Checklist for Local Small Business Websites: If you’re ever planning on starting a small business website, this is a decent but basic checklist of the considerations you need to make in order to make sure it’s well SEO’d. Have a look.
- Should I Change My URLs for SEO?: This beginner SEO question comes up often. And since it’s being touched upon in this post, I figured it’s worth including here too.
- Introducing: The Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors: All of this SEO in an easily digestible infographic.
- Bing Rankings Cheat Sheet: People still use Bing, so understanding what works for rankings on that site is important. Here’s a list of what Bing seems to prefer for those top rankings.
- SEO Best Practices for Restaurants and Eateries: I’m not sure how many of you readers actually have a restaurant or eatery (or know someone who does), but this was pretty solid advice.
- The Complete Google Panda Reference Guide: Google’s Panda update has left site owners and SEOs confused and befuddled, but this guide summarizes the history and explains how you can be successful despite this algorithmic update.
- The Responsibilities of SEO Have Been Upgraded: SEO is not the same today as it was 6 years ago. Today, we think about XML sitemaps, local integration, keyword usage in images, PR tactics, and so much more. Your strategies must employ content creation, community management, local/maps optimization, among others. How many of these new tactics have you adopted?
- How User Generated Content is Changing SEO: This is an analysis of how search results changed in the last year alone and how it impacts your business. Get more reviews, people! That’s one of many ways to be more visible.
- How Social Media Affects Content Relevance in Search: Why is social media so important? For those die hard SEO practitioners who don’t see the value in social, this article shows the last few months’ impact on search engine rankings. The more you share, the more likely the content will rank.
- Top 10 Attributes of a Successful Blogger: If you like writing, have good grammar skills, are creative, and have an entrepreneurial spirit, you might make a great blogger for yourself or your company!
- 21 Real Blog Metrics Your Company Needs to Track: Whether it’s pageviews, time on site, calls to action, or reader comments/votes, all of these metrics are helpful to fulfill certain goals, such as understanding how engaged your readers are, finding out where the readers are most interested, or whether your sales are being supported by appropriate content, so take a look at this post, reevaluate your blog, and see if you need to fix it up a bit.
- A Definitive Guide to Blog Content Scraping & How to STOP It!: Ever get your blog content stolen by another new blog who wants to get established? This is the definitive guide on how to handle that, from proactive stances to applying rel=”author” (plus full instructions on how to implement that) to finding out who is stealing your content altogether.
- Top Corporate Blogs: What are the best corporate blogs? SocialFresh ran a contest and picked their finalists. If nothing else, you should take a look at these corporate blogs and see where and how they’re doing it right!
- 10 Proven Tips for Getting More Engagement on Your Business Blog RIGHT NOW: There are lots of great tips on how to make a great blog, including not moderating comments, rewarding engagement, giving readers ways to connect with you, publishing posts around the time you get visitors, and more.
- 7-point Checklist For Bloggers Who Want to Create a Profitable Blog: As bloggers who want to monetize, a checklist can come in handy to see if you’re following the steps needed to drive your blog into moneymaking territory.
- Adding Revenue Streams into Your Website or Blog: How do you monetize your blog? It’s not only AdSense that you can use. Michael’s post should inspire you to make more money for your blog.
- 40 Dead Simple Ways to Get More Comments on Your Blog: This post really has 31 tips for blogging, from design tips to writing post ideas to how to respond.
- 7 Habits of Professional Bloggers: Bloggers who do so professionally are willing to learn, creating a sustainable online property, creating content consistently, have self discipline, maintain integrity, have courtesy, and always aim to grow bigger.
- Ultimate Blogger’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization: There have been a lot of guides on blogging and SEO, but this is the latest and has good info.
- 5 Reasons Why Deleting Your Blog Posts Is Stupid: …or why Steve Rubel shouldn’t have done it.
- Neil Patel’s Guide to Blogging: This article touches upon the Neil Patel way of blogging — and he’s been doing it for quite awhile. He starts off with a list of how he crafts a blog content, how he chooses topics, social promotion, timing of the post, and more.
- 12 Flavors of Content to Attract Your Audience: Whether it’s video, webinars, long-form content, Q&A, whitepapers, or whatever else tickles your fancy, you can gain a big audience if you continue pushing compelling pieces of content.
- Using Authorship Markup to Increase Click-Through Rates in the SERPS: A new tag lets you identify authors in search engines and helps you get seen. This tag is rel=”me” or rel=”author,” and this article walks you through getting set up.
- How to Title & Tag Your Blog Posts: This post explains how to have blog titles that are keyword optimized for SEO and capture the reader’s attention.
- Creating a Corporate Blogging Policy? Here are Six Areas to Consider: Corporate blogging policies should surround the following areas: the general policy, policies for writers, and internal comment policies. Externally, it’s important to have a solid “about” page, the official blog’s comment policy, and bios/pictures for all bloggers.
- How to Write SEO Friendly Blog Posts with These 13 Questions: This article touches upon blogging from an SEO perspective, giving you questions and solutions on common SEO questions. The focus is high quality content.
- About to Publish a Post? STOP! Read This: This article follows the previous title tag post very well. It includes considerations for the types of things you need for good SEO (and again, attention) when publishing blog posts.
- 5 Lessons Fortune 500 Companies Can Teach You About Blogging: Some Fortune 500 blogs are really great. This is a post that looks at some of the high performers and gives examples on how you can do the same.
- A Guide to Marketing Automation: Inbound marketing tactics include marketing automation, a way to segment leads and scale personalized communications. This article introduces this element and explains how it helps a cohesive inbound marketing effort.
- 4 Ways to Get More out of Marketing Automation: A lot of my general audience doesn’t understand marketing automation, but did you know that it’s responsible for more than $300 million in revenue? Here’s how to maximize it.
- 4 Ways to Grow Your Business with Marketing Automation: Sometimes you don’t need to man everything in a marketing engagement. Automating your marketing efforts may be fruitful. Here’s what you can do to change your business course. Enjoy!
- How to Fail at Marketing Automation: …and four characteristics that work.
- 5 Disastrous Misconceptions About Marketing Automation: Marketing automation is not something you can do alone; you need to put it together with a strong inbound marketing plan. It’s about being active all the time, watching the progress of your campaigns as they go through their cycles. These facts are discussed in more depth in this article.
- 10 Years of Link Building Advice: Link building advice can be hit or miss, but some link builders have given us pretty good advice even as far back as 2001. These golden nuggets are shared and discussed.
- Link Building 101: What’s link building? This is your introductory guide. (The next link goes even further.)
- How to Build Links: The Ultimate Guide: This is one of several really helpful link building guides, covering topics in social media, viral content, guest posting, news, link requests, face to face networking, and much more.
- A Guide to Long Tail Link Building: It’s always more advisable to target long tail keywords versus the broader ones (e.g. “travel,” or “jewelry”). This article explores how to get into this tactic and its benefits.
- Creative Tips for Link Building on a Shoestring Budget: One of the best ways to get links is via writing guest posts. How many of you actually do that?
- How to Train a Link Builder: It seems that there’s a lot of turnover in the link building space, so training new link builders will be a frequent occurrence.
- Notorious S.E.O: The 10 Crack Commandments of Link Building: Link building as seen from the Notorious B.I.G. angle. This is a really creative piece.
- 10 Ethical Ways to Buy Links: While some may argue that you need to nofollow links purchased via paid reviews (which is suggested here), link buying isn’t over and is a great way for many people to get the visibility they feel they deserve and the SEO value that may come from it.
- 25 Reasons Why Another Site Will Link to Yours: How are you getting links to your site? Are you being resourceful? Offering discounts? Publishing videos? Helping people make money? This and 21 other reasons are why those links are coming.
- Understanding Your Backlink Profile: Backlinks are important to find out the health of your site in search rankings. However, they could be manipulated. It’s important to analyze your backlinks regularly to see if there’s anything unhealthy going on.
- Kicking off a Linkbuilding Campaign with Questions: If you’re link-building for yourself or for a client, these are questions you want to have answered for a good understanding of what you’re doing and where.
- Link Building with the Experts – 2011 Edition: Every year, this interview series asking link builders about the trends in search engine optimization and how it impacts link builders.
- Into the Minds of Link Builders: Three link builders are asked tough and fun questions on tactics and strategy.
- Proven Ways to Use Content to Attract Links: This is part 3 in a series of posts that explain link building. To get good links, you don’t have to build brand new content. Repurpose! Add a new twist! Use forums. There are many ways to go with this.
- Link Building for E-commerce Sites: Anchor text is important when it comes to link building – you want traffic but also conversions. Here’s a good framework for making that happen … and it isn’t necessarily only for e-commerce sites.
- 10 Reasons Why Your Link Requests are Failing: If your requests are spammy, you don’t have clear messaging, the links aren’t converting to traffic, and you’re just building a link and stopping there and not focusing on a relationship, your requests will fail at generating the right response. It’s hard work. Are you prepared?
- Link Building in 2011: This is an interview with 2 known link builders on the impact of SEO and links.
- 99 Ways to Build Links by Giving Stuff Away (and Improve Your Brand Too): Want to build links? Here are 99 ways, from giveaways to community building to media connections to offering discounts and so much more.
Local Online Marketing
- Local Search Ranking Factors: David Mihm comes out with local search ranking factors every year, and his research is indispensable for those focused on local SEO.
- 9 Ways to Start a New Local Business Using Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, and Google: These easy (and mostly affordable steps) can put your local business on the map. The big investment in this case is time.
- 10 Unorthodox Ideas for Local Citations & Links: If you have a local business and want high rankings, these are some creative ways to move forward to get some nice links: hosting parties at the event, selling products for sale online and offering feeds for the products, integrating badges or writing a guide of local places in Foursquare, and more.
- Local SEO 101 Guide: Want to learn the basics of local SEO? Hire a company or check out this guide for how to DIY.
- Review Management: 7 Tips on Avoiding Bad Reviews: Don’t want a bad review? Here are some tactics to keep them off the Yelps of the world and affect you negatively. Communication is key!
- Local SEO Tracking: How to Track Offline Conversions: Whether it’s by custom URLs or custom phone numbers, offline conversions can be tracked thanks to a bit of analytics know-how.
- 13 Must-Have Tips for Local Search Marketing: If you represent a small business in a physical location and want big visibility, this guide will help.
- How to Make Awesome Landing Pages for Local PPC: Sometimes customization makes a ton of sense, and in local PPC, the more personalized the message seems, the better.
- 5 Tips for Content Marketers on Google Places Optimization: If you want your Google Places page to shine, fill out the information, encourage participation, use keywords, and focus on what you’re best at.
- 125 Tips for Building an Irresistible Brand: Ask yourself some questions, jot down your answers, and think clearly about what makes your brand tick to build an amazingly powerful brand.
- 10 Ways to Beat Online Obscurity: Are you a rockstar? Maybe not. But you can be if you’re willing to follow the tips in this article.
- How to Deal with Negative Online Sentiment About Your Brand: How do you deal with “badvocates?” Here are steps you should take to close the gap and solve problems that can taint your brand.
- The 4 Layers of Online Brand Marketing: With your brand as the core, you then have a website, then content development and off page SEO, and finally social and reputation management. Are you integrating all facets of the pyramid to establish your brand?
- 3 Ways to Get Great Content from Your Boring Business: Shannon Paul suggests three ways to make your boring business exciting to prospects: through problem solving, through creativity, and by being the media.
- SEO Guide to Creating Viral Linkbait and Infographics (Content Development): This is definitely one of the best articles in this year’s report. This Distilled guide to creating viral linkbait and infographics should not be ignored. It talks about how to brainstorm contnet to gathering data to presenting it with visual appeal to sharing the final copy.
- Linkbait and Content Marketing: And now, a great walk-through of the mindset you need to be in to provide some amazingly great viral content that people will share and which will drive links to boost visibility for your business.
- What to Look for in Freelance Writers: When you’re hiring a writer to produce content, you want to create a good business relationship with clearly communicated deliverables (which is the case in more than just writing engagements). Don’t commit to long term engagements unless you’re really sure about the writer, though.
- Making the Leap: Egocentric to Empathy in Content Marketing: Sometimes you need to look at your company in the eyes of someone else: your customers. Once you do this, you can engage differently and get a different view of how to market. This post explains the process of how to think like your customer.
- 5 Reasons Copywriters Need to Get Data … or Get Out of the Business: If you can put numbers and accountability on your copywriting skills, you are a winner. The future sees copywriters as having more responsibilities in analysis, since writing content nowadays just isn’t enough.
- The 7 Deadly Sins of Content Promotion: Don’t be greedy. Don’t be gluttonous. Don’t show envy. Each of these sins is dissected as a strategy, a problem, and a solution.
- 6 Content Tips: How to Write When You Have Nothing to Write About: I got a comment on my blog that other day from someone who felt she wasn’t inspired to write anything for her blog. But there are so many things you can write about! While this won’t have you scribbling notes (okay, typing posts) for months, you might be inspired to improve upon your content development strategy for good SEO. The more original content you have, the better your SEO. Always remember that.
- A Kick Ass Guide to Growing Your Website Traffic Online: From platform to linking strategy, this guide covers everything needed to build a site that is networked enough for some good traffic.
- 10 Steps to Writing Better Content : I love this tip – “write drunk, edit sober.” Aren’t you more creative when you’re a little tipsy?
- 6 Steps to Making Your Infographic Work: Is your infographic going to resonate with your audience? By doing research among a social audience, communicating with your designer, getting outsiders’ opinions, including links, and publishing the infographic with all of these considerations intact, your infographic can travel far.
- A Quick and Dirty Guide to Content Marketing: Whether you’re creating written or video content, cornerstone or spicy content, content that tells stories or solves problems, there’s an approach that will suit you and your readers. This article touches upon different content marketing angles and email autorepsonders to sell yourself and your services.
- Copywriting Essentials from A to Z: From Action to Zing, here is what you need to keep in mind for a great copywritten piece of content that will grab the attention of the people who you’re looking to connect with.
- Great Content for SEO: Simpler than You Ever Imagined: Build a survey, send it to your customers, record their responses, and leverage it to build what people want (via search, of course). Simple, right?
- 21 Ways to Create Compelling Content when You Don’t Have a Clue: You can steal ideas, borrow name recognition, get inspired, and do so much more to create some really good content that works.
- Infographics or Articles: Which Type of Content is Best for Your Idea?: This article takes a deep look at infographics versus linkbait articles and explores why you should do one (or the other).
- A 5 Minute Guide to More Persuasive Copywriting: Or in five words: Write for a real person.
PPC Marketing & Paid Search
- How to Write the Best PPC Adverts: PPC ads is a bit of psychology, so you might want to consider some tips to make them clickworthy. Then again, you also need a great product!
- Paid and Organic Search: Why the Marriage of Both is Important: After looking at analytics from a year’s worth of client data, Razorfish determined that you should buy keywords even if you’re in position #1.
- 25 Tips for Giving Your PPC Campaigns a Boost: Whether you’re using Facebook PPC or Google AdSense, you may want to follow some tips to maximize ROI (with minimal effort).
- What Visible Quality Score isn’t Telling You: There will be things you’ll need to monitor yourself when it comes to the quality score. Geography, for example, comes into play here. There are things you can try to see better impact of your ads.
- 14 Things to Ask Before Starting a PPC Project : These are questions for PPC practitioners to ask before starting work on the campaign.
- How to Write the Best PPC adverts: Five years has taught this now seasoned PPC pro how to get qualified leads through the sponsored search results.
- The Secret of the Quality Score: I didn’t catch this post until February even though it was published in January, but it’s good stuff. Your quality score is determined by the probability someone will actually click through to your ad. There’s some interesting data and findings here.
- 5 Common PPC Optimization Mistakes: This is a great read for newbies especially.
- Why Display Is Changing The Value Of Search: As someone who does a lot in paid advertising, I take solace in knowing that display advertising is apparently going to be the future of search — coupled with retargeting. Display advertising looks to increase over time, especially from eMarketer studies and available data.
- When Should You Delete a Low Traffic Keyword?: If you have a really difficult and overwhelming PPC campaign, you may want to tidy up low performing keywords. Here’s an analysis of the impacts of doing so.
- How to Use Google AdWords to Reach the People Who Didn’t Click on Your Ad: This is called remarketing and is a brilliant use of banner ad campaigns — stalking! It’s also the reason for this reddit submission. See, it’s really good.
- Are You Creeping Out Your Customers With Remarketing?: Remarketing campaigns are pretty powerful, but if you’re chasing your followers everywhere they go, they may get spooked. Think about frequency caps to limit your ads, use different offers/themes, refine your ads with topic targeting, and use negative audience lists. Remarketing is great if done right!
- Start Collecting Your Cookies! Setting up Remarketing Tags 101: Remarketing is the hottest PPC method yet, and here’s how you can get started to launch and monitor your new campaign.
- How to Acquire Demographic Insights from Your Remarketing Campaign: Using data given by your campaigns and Quantcast, you can paint a picture of the people your remarketing campaigns are targeting so that you can make your marketing message resonate better.
- 43 Paid Search Signals You Need to Understand: These are the signals that reflect the user who is searching and the behavior of the user and thus must be understood for maximum gain.
- 9 Tips for Using Product Listing Ads: Here is advice on taking advantage of Google’s new ad format which should be a great opportunity for advertisers and for end users.
- 8 Best Ways to Find Negative Keywords: Whether you’re using someone else’s keyword list as inspiration (why not?) or monitoring what’s being said (or not) in the media, you can definitely find negative keywords for your campaign to avoid paying for that which would never convert.
- 3 Awesome Remarketing Ad Strategies: Have you ever seen an ad unit … EVERYWHERE? That’s remarketing. And if it converts, that means it’s been successful. Here’s how you can make that campaign work.
- Should You Buy PPC Ads for Your Brand Keywords?: There are many reasons why you should buy PPC ads for your brand keywords (so yes, the answer is yes!) Here they are.
- What PPC Practitioners Should Know About Robots.txt files: To prevent low quality scores and unapproved ads, PPC practitioners need to know about robots.txt files. Here’s how you can identify and solve that issue.
- How to Create a Good Blogger Pitch : This is the best blogger outreach post I have ever read.
- The Front Page Isn’t What it Used to Be: This is a simple reminder why you can’t rely on your website alone. You need to be firmly grounded on all major platforms serving as the “new front page” and aim for placement throughout these new mediums.
- 9 Essential Tips for Warm Blogger Outreach Pitches: Every so often, I share a blogger outreach article because people always do it wrong. My key takeaway from this article is to do your research. No, seriously. People pitch me all the time despite the fact that I clearly say I don’t want pitches. Obviously, the research part is overlooked. I wonder how much traction those PR campaigns really get if that’s the case?!
- Blogger Outreach Guide: How to Get Started: If you’re tasked with doing outreach on behalf your client or perhaps for yourself, it’s important to find the right people. This guide gives you tips on creating that pitch and finding people who can seek out the right people — your community manager.
- Recommendations for Blog Commenting as a Marketing Strategy: Blog commenting can be a great way to market yourself and your business if you do it right. This writeup explains the benefits and illustrates best practices for making it worth your time.
- 8 Tips for Blogger Outreach: Networking is important, but how do you reach the influencers you’re looking for? I blogged about this last year, and while those points are incredibly valid, so are these: flattering people on Twitter, finding them on a social network (especially if you can’t locate the email address), searching for opportunities via Twitter, and other lesser-known tactics are discussed.
- Outreach Tips and Tricks to Increase Efficiency and Effectiveness: If you’ve done any personal outreach, doing something above and beyond can certainly help make that campaign a bit more effective for you. The suggestions here are quite smart yet simple to implement.
- Why Most Social Media Departments Fail: This is my own post and most popular post on Techipedia this year, highlighting some case studies encountered by myself and colleagues on why social media sometimes just doesn’t work for companies. Hint: it’s in the approach and communication, not in the fact that viability isn’t possible in some industries.
- Process: A Pragmatic Approach to Social Business: A social media planning process requires 8 full steps to execute and measure effectively: education, research, strategy, planning, implement, manage, measure, renewal.
- Blog SMO Guide: How to Apply Social Media Optimization to Your Blog in 33 Steps: This is a HUGE list of great tips to make your site social friendly. Tips like minimizing obstacles to comment, displaying voting icons after the article, having a well-written title, and more are discussed in this lengthy article.
- Why Social Media Departments Fail: This post speaks from the heart (and is my own) on why social media marketing initiatives are completely useless without goals and a cohesive marketing plan.
- How To Find The Perfect Network For Your Content Promotion Campaign: Today, we look at all of the social media sites out there to see what’s worth promoting where.
- 14 Best Practices for Long Term Social Media Success: These are the traits that successful online businesses exhibit day in and day out: they have governance and rewards, guidelines, a training program, an editorial program, a mission and purpose, and they serve their customers and prospects.
- 10 Considerations When Creating a Social Media Policy: If you ever need to create a social media policy, look at this list of advice for things you may need to consider: an understanding of chain of command, disclosure information, monitoring of usage, and much more.
- 21 Types of Social Content to Boost Your SEO: Viral content helps build links. Whether you write something that’s passionate, that’s controversial, that’s epic, that lists a bunch of great resources, and that’s visual, you can definitely reap benefits if you truly understand what a social audience is looking for.
- Who Should Represent Your Brand on the Social Web?: Whether you create a social media council that integrates many team members or you take it on yourself, humanizing the brand is a primary goal for social media, since it’s all about human interaction. How do you approach it?
- The Social Media Marketer’s SEO Checklist: Social media influences SEO, so this post tells social media marketers how to best craft your social messages to yield the best SEO value for search effectiveness.
- Tracking the KPIs of Social Media: With social media analytics, you should track traffic, fans/followers/ social interaction, and how well the content is performing. Here are tools on how you can do these measurements.
- Social Media for Small Business: 6 Effective Strategies: Businesses starting in social media may need this most, but I think it is valuable to any business. First, the customer is always right. (Well, almost.) Second, sometimes you have to pay. Third, followers are just a number. Fourth, [constant] self promotion won’t help you. Fifth, benefit from expertise. Finally, there are people you can hire to help.
- An Insider’s Guide to Social Media Etiquette: I’ve written about social media etiquette myself, but this one makes it more business-centric, like not using logos (if you’re representing yourself as a person, not a company, that is) and refraining from retweeting praise about you. This is good stuff.
- Don’t Abuse Social Network Pings: Social media gives you ways to connect with people you know easily, but there are certain etiquette rules to take into consideration.
- Social Media for SEO vs. Customer Engagement: You should be doing social media for customer engagement (relationships) but also for SEO value. Are you coordinating both efforts? Are you doing both?
- How to Grow Social Media Leads: New Research: The more you blog, the better it is for your leads. Also, the more Twitter followers you have, the better you will fare as well in leads. They call that social proof. You also get better results with a larger Facebook fan base. Do these findings surprise you?
- Social Media Consultants, Experts, and Gurus, Oh My!: Earlier this year, I worked on a campaign with a client who wanted nothing more than LOTS of new followers. He didn’t know why he wanted it, but he wanted it. Naturally, it felt odd to just build numbers for him, and I gave him the explanations as to why. This is the blog post that I could’ve used before the campaign to align expectations. Numbers aren’t everything.
- 6 Areas of Your Business that Should be Listening: Amber Naslund and Jay Baer show the benefits of listening across sales, marketing, customer service, R&D, HR, and management.
- The Rules of Social Media Engagement: It’s important to put rules into place when you involve yourself in the social media space. It makes you more productive as a company. This post includes 25 guidelines that you should consider when crafting those company policies.
- 9 Companies Doing Social Media Right and Why: Here are some good case studies of businesses who do social media the right way. What’s your business doing?
- Secrets of Social Media Revealed 50 Years Ago: Research by Ernest Dichter in 1966 has found that there are 4 motivations that people use to communicate about brands: product involvement (a great experience), self involvement (sharing information about oneself), other involvement (desire to help others), and message involvement (a great message). Do you think all of this is still the same today? This and other discoveries still hold true.
- Optimizing Social Media Campaigns for Search: Together, search and social are extremely powerful. Come up with ideas, get your external content on your main site, get tracking in place, optimize, and consider load times to create a powerful social and search machine.
- Your Secret Weapon for Standout Social Media Success: In a real time world, your response times need to change. That means when someone wants your attention on social media, you better reply within minutes. This post includes the various desired response times for a variety of channels.
- The Number One Least Asked Question in Social Media…Why?: Why are you as a business engaging in social media? Why should your customers follow you? Because you rock? Do your customers think so?
- 50 Kloutless Ways to Get Value from Twitter: …or any social network, really. Summary: network (the verb).
- A How-to Guide for Submitting Content to Fark: Chances are if you’re reading this, you may never see the need to submit something to Fark, a social news site for funny/odd news. With content on Fark being totally manually selected, it’s hard to get the attention of the editors. Here’s the type of content that works.
- Twitter for Brands: 6 Winning Strategies: Brands on Twitter may elect to take different types of approaches to be successful. Here are 6 that are taken by Ford, Zappos, JetBlue, and other well known Twitter accounts.
- 10 Ways to Get More ReTweets: This article analyzes some research from Twitter scientist Dan Zarrella to find out what and when you should tweet. Plus, the Twitter button helps too.
- Why and How to Use Facebook Comments for Your Blog: High quality comments? Yes, Facebook Comments allow for this. Here’s why you should enable them on your blog.
- How to Build the Perfect Facebook Page: Tim Ware is amazing at Facebook page design, and in this post, it shows.
- How to Succeed at Facebook Advertising: This blog post is a case study of a store that used Facebook ads. Some findings include leveraging endorsements of existing fans and use highly engaging content.
- How Small and Local Businesses Can Use Facebook: This is a really nice interview covering the benefits of Facebook. I especially like Greg’s detail.
- How to Improve Engagement on Your Brand’s Facebook Page: This report has been under scrutiny for being too basic, but Buddy Media says that the best Facebook posts are timely, concise, and engaging.
- The Ultimate Guide to the Facebook Edgerank Algorithm: News feed optimization is important if you want to pull in decent traffic from Facebook. Here are those algorithmic elements dissected so you can see more engagement and better return on your Facebook marketing methods.
- 6 Tips to Increase Your Facebook EdgeRank and Exposure: Want more Facebook visibility? Encouraging interaction and sharing great content will help you get on your way.
- How to Improve EdgeRank on Facebook: This is an infographic that discusses the Facebook EdgeRank algorithm and shows how you can improve it.
- Facebook Edgerank: How I Increased My Facebook Edgerank Score to 141: This is a great case study of how a mommy blogger saw an increase in overall Facebook engagement.
- 5 Ways to Build a Sticky Facebook Fan Page: With case studies to explain how to do each, this post is a good primer to creating friendly Facebook pages.
- An Optimizer’s Guide to Facebook Ad Reports: Understanding Facebook advertising analytics can give you a leg up on the competition. Here’s a huge chart for your perusal.
- How to Time Your Facebook Updates to Reach the Most Fans: When do people stick with and/or unsubscribe from your updates? When do updates disappear from news feeds? How do I measure the success of Facebook updates? These questions are explored in the article from PageLever’s CEO.
- Cost Per Like Campaigns On Facebook: The CTR, Conversion Rate, Reach Tradeoff: Do you want to see the best return on your Facebook campaign — the highest cost per likes? This article gives good direction on how to focus on Facebook PPC.
- Buying Facebook Fans is a Horrible Idea: While this isn’t really strategy at all and most of my reports contain that, I really like this fresh take on why buying FB fans won’t bode well for your brand. This relates how it will kill the algorithm that gives you status messages any visibility: EdgeRank.
- How to Build a Thriving LinkedIn Group: Making good choices and promoting well means you’ll see good LinkedIn group results.
- The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering LinkedIn: Well, we had a Facebook article, so we need one for LinkedIn. This is a good one that includes 20 hidden tricks, such as a vanity URL, optimization of your profile, tracking company buzz, using LinkedIn groups, checking in on updates, and much more.
- HOW TO: Optimize Your Company’s LinkedIn Profile: Did you know that you can optimize your LinkedIn company profile for multiple audience segments? That’s pretty powerful. Read about this and other tips on this Mashable post.
- 7 Quick Ways to Turn Your LinkedIn Profile into a Social Media Marketing Workhorse: Your LinkedIn profile can get you leads, connections, and so much more — if you actually do more than set it and forget it. This article shows you how to take your profile to the next level.
- 5 Tips for Using the New LinkedIn Company Pages: A lot of companies jump onto LinkedIn and create pages, but do they take advantage of everything, including monitoring? I doubt it. After reading this article, you might be taking a different approach.
- 16 Smarter Ways to Use LinkedIn to Build Your Business: From creating meaningful connections to mining your datastream, LinkedIn can be a valuable resource for business connections. Here’s what you can do to make the most of it.
- How and Why to Use Pinterest for Business: The new social network Pinterest is all the rage for those who love visuals. Here’s why it works for business and here’s how you can use it.
- A Client’s Guide to Usability: A good usable site is the one reason people will actually come back to you. This is the type of guide you send a client before you design their site so that they understand that a maze of difficult pages won’t get them any loyal visitors.
- The Website, the Webcam, and the Test Plan: Simple and Exciting Website Usability Testing: This has turned website testing into more of an exercise, with useful information on how you can apply this (based on a real case study) for your own website usability tests.
- How to Improve the Usability (and Conversion Rate) of Your Forms: Filling out forms doesn’t have to be arduous for your users. Consider some of these items to make the process simpler.
- Technical Site Audit Checklist: This is a GREAT checklist of the various considerations you need to address when launching a new website.
- Improve the User Experience by Tracking Errors: Are you doing any 404 page or other error monitoring? It’s something you should do so as not to upset your users. Here’s how to find and fix them.
- 15 Title Tag Optimization Guidelines for Usability and SEO: Your title tag is being read by users, search engines, and web browsers alike. How do you make them stand out and appeal to all?
Conversion Rate Optimization/Landing Pages
- A Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization – Part 2: Part 1 of this guide was written on the site in November 2010, so feel free to check out the CRO link in the post. To succeed, the author suggests that you include calls to action, have credibility, write great copy, and much more. Oh, and yes, there will be a part 3 to this guide too.
- How to Implement a Conversion Rate Optimization Process: Like social media, CRO is one of those processes that takes time and energy to fine tune your performance for best results. This detailed post shows the tools needed to start, how to measure your results, what happens during the analysis phase, how you implement changes based on findings, and how to test these results. Not so easy.
- Testing, Testing, 1-2-3: A/B Tests Boost Creativity, Productivity, and Bottom Line: Small changes can help improve your sales, so it’s important to consider A/B testing as much as possible.
- A Beginner’s Guide to A/B Testing: An Introduction: With the preceding article, it only helps to learn a little more about why A/B testing is so important. Here’s your intro guide.
- 10 Site Tweaks to Make Your Customers Actually Click “Buy”: If you’re building an e-commerce site and want people to buy your product, big and attractive buttons with calls to action are the best way to ensure you get a buyer.
- Your Web Design is Killing Your Conversion Rate: Is your website or landing page design killing your conversion rate? You offer many choices or perhaps use the wrong background color. These things can hinder the effectiveness of your site and put a dent in your revenue.
- How Images Can Boost Your Conversion Rate: If you are looking to buy a product online, you probably prefer pictures of the item, especially if you’ve never owned something like it before. Right? This article includes lots of studies that show the benefits of images on product pages.
- 12 Ways to Pick the Best Affiliate Program: Looking to engage in affiliate marketing? There are dozens of programs out there. How should you choose the best? Consider product, competition, EPC, tools, and other elements to make the best educated decision.
- When to Launch an Affiliate Program: If you have an online marketing program that’s working well, it may be time to get an affiliate program on board as well. But do you have the staff to handle it? Can you handle the inbound support? These are questions to ask before you launch.
- Inspiring Brand Ambassadors: If you’re looking to help get your customers to do word of mouth marketing for you, a brand ambassador program is something to look into. This guide lists the benefits and explains why and how you should proceed.
- Fans Aren’t Just for Rockstars: For big brands, it’s time to connect more closely with your customers. This is a process you can follow that makes that all possible.
- Why User Experience Cannot Be Designed: This is a theoretical way to view UX, complete with why you cannot design it (it’s based on how the user interacts with the product). But you can design for UX.
- 7 Simple Fixes for Your Small Business Website: Does your site have good navigation? A contact page? A good About page? Title tags that are informative? Well, if not, it’s time to review these guidelines and create a website that truly will resonate with your prospects and customers.
- HTML5 and SEO: New Strategies for Optimizing Code: If you code for SEO, you’ll find that HTML5 takes things to a different level. This article discusses some tags you can do without (as they’re deprecated) and tags you should start considering instead.
- What Potential Impact Can HTML5 Have on SEO?: Each major element of code is dissected with some indications as to how it will fare with the search engines.
- Top 15 Free Things Every E-Commerce Website Should Do After Launching: Once you launch a new site, you need to think about product feeds, a sitemap file, getting analytics set up, and much more.
- How to Make Your Website Look More Legitimate: Beyond having a presence online that you are happy to share with legitimate pages and information, to be truly legitimate, you need to get a media kit, press mentions, social profiles, a reusable logo, and a website that looks very professional.
- Does Good Web Design Really Matter?: Do you hate some websites? Why? If your issues stem with bad design, you’re with 94% others who agree that design can make or break a website. Therefore, it’s paramount to create a design that really resonates with your potential viewers
- 8 Ways to Deal with Negative Comments in Online Communities: There are many things you can do with negative comments: ignoring it, lawyering up, changing it to a positive discussion, removing the comment (and possibly banning the commenter), educating the customer, confess and beg forgiveness, fight, or own it. What are you?
- 8 Ingredients that Make a Community Manager: Who are the best community managers? They need to be passionate, available, and good communicators.
- What Does a Community Manager Do?: There’s no one-size-fits-all job description for a community manager. It’s actually a LOT of work. Here’s what it might look like, though.
- The 2011 State of Community Management: Year after year, this report has served as one of the best resources for community managers. It covers strategy, leadership, culture, content, and so much more. It’s a 95 page report primarily based on survey findings of 109 individuals which you can download as PDF for your personal pursuits.
- How to Build a Great Contest: This is a case study of how a contest was run successfully via Twitter and Facebook. What contest ideas are you trying for your business?
- Our Online Reputation Management Playbook: Ever search Google and see “companyname scam”? The writer has. Here’s how he successfully conquered this reputation management problem.
- How to Combat Fake Reviews While Managing Online Reputation: Who cares if you have some negative reviews? Try to get as many positive (legitimate!) reviews as you can and you’ll find that conversions will soar.
- Using Google Analytics to Monitor Your Brand: With a few tweaks, you can learn a lot about how your brand is faring across search results.
- How to Avoid Negative Reviews and Bad Publicity for Your Online Store: The more someone is unhappy about an experience, the more likely his friends have to hear about it. (Surprisingly, though, in this case, the store was unnamed even though the writer says that “word travels fast.”) Still, the lessons to take away from any negative experience is that marketing and customer service go hand in hand, and you could truly make a difference and prevent negative reputation marks against your business if you actually are proactive about what people are saying about you.
- Using Regular Expressions to Group Keywords in Google Analytics: Did you know about the pipe, carat, dollar sign, question mark, or plus sign tools of the trade for Google Analytics? Well, take a look at this guide and you’ll learn a thing or two.
- A Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics 5: If you know about Google Analytics, not much has changed, but GA has been upgraded to version 5 and sports some new features. This article takes a look.
- Web Analytics: Frequently Asked Questions and Direct Answers: This article addresses FAQs such as how to sell analytics to a skeptical client in 30 seconds, why some keywords have 0 visits in Google Analytics, how to attribute offline sales to the online marketing, where to find competitive intelligence, and much more.
- How to Use Events as Goals in Google Analytics: Here are some tips on how to set up Google Analytics to assess engagement on your site.
- 11 Analytics Metrics that are Actionable: Focusing on the right metrics makes your life easier and your time more productive. Here are 11 metrics you should actually care about.
- Best Social Media Metrics: Conversation, Amplification, Applause, Economic Value: Social media can’t be measured, you say? When you finish reading this article, you may disagree with that sentiment. Comments are the conversation rate, shares/retweets are the amplification rate, favorites/Likes/+1s are the applause rate, and your long term revenue and cost savings is your economic value.
- Using Google Analytics to Uncover Hidden Problem Areas: Have you seen your site’s analytics yet? If your website exists specifically for some ROI, it’s time you analyzed your top exit pages, high bounce rates, your site search, and site elements to determine if there’s anything needing improvement.
- Data Analysis 101: Seven Simple Mistakes that Limit Your Salary: This article looks at pretty charts (that aren’t particularly useful) and shows how you could totally create or construe the data incorrectly.
- Practical Domaining: People buy domains for many reasons — for search traffic, misspelled words, exact match, and more. If you’re into the art of domaining, you already know this. If you’re not but want to learn, here is your introductory guide.
- Video Posts: Are You Doing it Wrong?: If you ever blog about video, and many people don’t realize this, it’s not useful just to include the video without any detail. I can’t stress how many sites just let you submit the video without ANY detail whatsoever. Here are the steps you should follow to get people passionate about what you’re posting. The video alone still doesn’t cut it.
- 8 Ways to Maximize Your YouTube Marketing Results: With YouTube being a powerful search engine, it’s the go-to place for video marketing. Compelling videos coupled with a branded page can yield great results.
- Top 10 Ways to Use Email Marketing Effectively (Email Marketing): Whether you’re focused on design, goals, or social media promotion, email marketing should be considerate of some of these elements so that you do create an effective campaign that works.
- 4 Steps to Understanding the ROI of Your Newsletter: By understanding email marketing metrics, defining a baseline using historical data, assessing ROI, and testing (and retesting, of course), you can learn much about how to improve your newsletter for greater engagement.
- 4 Mobile Email-Marketing Tips: People are reading their email on mobile, so it is important for you to think about mobile email marketing in the same way that you do regular email marketing.
- 5 Email Marketing Tips for Increased Open Rates: If you’re looking to get people to open those emails you’ve sent, you should make a good first impression, time your emails appropriately, format the email in such a way to avoid spam filter traps, get rid of those folks who just don’t read the emails, and continually optimize the sign-up process.
- Email is (Still) Important and Here’s Why: Email is my best method of communication, but so many people think that Facebook and Twitter have replaced that. (Oh, and phone calls.) Nope. Not for everyone. Email has suffered the fate of value theory — but for me, it’s incredibly valuable. Do you think email is dead?
- 7 Email Case Studies: Publishers Who Forget About the Fold: Did you forget about the fold? Your core messaging should be easily visible. Don’t require people to scroll down.This report dissects many emails and shows where they failed.
General Online Marketing (and everything else)
- 109 Ways to Make Your Business Irresistible to the Media: Want to be quoted in the media? You can be — just follow some of these steps, which include being social, thinking visually, launch a brand new product, write an e-book, give the interviewer control of the discussion, and much more.
- The Ultimate Small Business Website Guide: This guide is truly ultimate. It talks about the benefits of creating a website, how to plan one, how to set one up, how to integrate social media and email marketing, and how to review your analytics.
- Drip, Drip, Drip – Building Prospect Trust One Drop at a Time: A lot of websites fall into this trap of assuming someone checking out your site wants to buy now or later, but this thought process is fundamentally incorrect. It’s important to build relationships via your website for these people to convert when they’re ready.
- A Holistic Approach to Marketing: Integrating Social, Search, and People: A great online marketing initiative integrates search, social, and paid together.
- The Noob Guide to Online Marketing: This exhaustive article also contains a tremendous infographic that you might as well hang up as a poster on your office wall; it covers the gamut from social media to analytics to PPC, email marketing, lead gen, and whatever else. The “Wheel of Marketing,” as he calls it, has so many spokes.
- Jedi Mind Tricks: 17 Lesser Known Ways to Persuade People: Using support from numerous studies, these tips help you get what you want, which is great in business. For example, if something happens often enough, you’ll be persuaded. How many of you have friends or family that were Facebook holdouts but eventually joined due to the prominence around you? Also, did you know that men prefer email than face to face discussions? (This woman prefers email too.)
- 7 Repeat Business Strategies for Small Businesses: Why does repeat business make sense? Because they’re targeted, easy to reach, cheap, and there’s no middle man. So here’s what you can do as a small business to get more repeat purchases.
- Marketing to Early Adopters: This is a great article from Mukund Mohan on how he identified adopters and reached out to them for his business.
- 21 Big Marketing Ideas for Small Marketing Budgets: I really like the tips in this article because they don’t require the deepest of pockets to implement. You’ll probably just need a community manager who can be active on blogs, message boards, social networks, and blogging to succeed at most of these tips.
- My Dad Taught Me Cashflow with a Soda Machine: …or how to teach your child to become a kick ass entrepreneur. The lessons you can pick up from selling soda are really applicable in business, and I love the approach.
- Tasty Ideas to Maximize Online Marketing for Events: This post explains how to promote an event with a model focused on Audience > Objectives > Tools > Tactics > Measurement. Plus, there are 27 great online marketing and public relations tactics that can help!
- The 100 Rules for Being an Entrepreneur: This isn’t a bad article, but he should have used numbers and not roman numerals or whatever he did there. It also has a good number of questions and answers from readers.
- 100 Ways to Connect: Relationship building at its finest.
- 14 Best Practices for Brands to Grow their Audiences in Social Media: Successful brands have gotten to that point because they designed an effective channel strategy, constructed a listening framework, initiated training programs, served customers and prospects, among other things that kept them at the front of their customers’ minds and hearts.
- Know. Like. Trust.: This is a reminder of the failures of many businesses with their own marketing; they forget to get consumers to know them, to like them, and to trust them.
- Email Overload: The Secret to Getting Inbox Zero Every Time: Answering email is good customer service. Good customer service is good marketing. Why this falls on deaf ears for perhaps 85% of people I email to is beyond me. These are my personal tips on how you can truly conquer your inbox. As we speak, it’s over 3 months after that post was written and I still have nothing in my inbox.
Thanks again to HubSpot’s Marketing Grader for making it possible for you to enjoy these great content pieces again on Techipedia. Again, it’s a fantastic tool: it analyzes all of your marketing — not just your website — reviewing over 30 different factors and then providing an overall Marketing Grade on a 1-100 scale, including:
- Competitive Benchmarking: Is my marketing more or less effective than my competition?
- Lead Generation: Are my marketing efforts generating enough leads and sales?
- Mobile Marketing: Is my web presence optimized for mobile devices?
- Social Media: How effectively are we using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter in our marketing?
- Blogging: Is my blog driving results that justify the time investment, or are we wasting time doing the wrong things?
- Overall Analysis: What are the strong points and shortcomings in our marketing?
Marketing Grader also outlines why you should take particular steps to improve and what your top priorities should be. With customized action items to help the top of your funnel, the middle of your funnel, and your analytics, Marketing Grader makes it easy for you to figure out your next steps.
Don’t forget that you can get this all monthly (plus more!) by signing up to my monthly newsletter, reduced 80% for a limited time