Newsletter Archives 2018
Here are the best marketing posts from 2018 in no particular order…
How to Take Your Content Upmarket When You Take Your Business Upmarket
Very advanced, but right on. Read it here…
Takeaway: Content with a personal touch will stand out even more as you move upmarket. The increased focused on data means there are fewer genuine, interesting thought leadership posts floating around the enterprise space. That represents a significant opportunity.
How to Improve Your Link Building Outreach Pipeline
Concise, solid idea. Read it here…
Takeaway: Track your link building efforts in a visual funnel. Even a brief exercise can help you find & solve your primary problems.
The Google Ads Remarketing Tactic You Aren’t Using (But Should Be) Analytics Audience Definitions
Advanced but interesting for anyone in PPC. Read it here…
Takeaway: Layering targeting is critical to any PPC campaign.
Follow the Local SEO Leaders: A Guide to Our Industry’s Best Publications
A very appropriate final link to recommend. Read it here…
Takeaway: Ironically, local search marketing is still the most challenging aspects of search. But there is plenty of opportunity for anyone willing to learn just a bit more and do a bit more work than their competitors.
The Science Behind 100,000-View Blog Posts
Excellent, concise read. Read it here…
Takeaway: Successful posts grow through good initial distribution and steady organic growth. Successful blogs grow by layering successful posts on top of each other.
Content-Driven Link Building: What Does Good Look Like?
Ok – this is a presentation deck and it’s pretty advanced. But – if you are investing in link-building or SEO, it’s worth flipping through. Read it here…
Takeaway: Going viral is not the norm and should not be a goal. When developing content to get links, you should invest in systems & formats that will increase the odds of success. You can borrow best practices from others, but ultimately you have to define and stick with your own system.
You’ve Got Product/Market Fit… What About Marketing/Market Fit?
Oh wow – this is very useful, especially if you hire consultants / agencies. Read it here…
Takeaway: Nobody can make your marketing tactics work (ie, your blog, your ads, etc) if your core targeting is wrong. Get your targeting right and most of the tactics will fix themselves.
17 [Advanced] SEO Tips For 2018
Most of these are quite old, but the list is well done nonetheless. Read it here…
Takeaway: There is no magic bullet in SEO. But there are tactics that work better than other when applied consistently as part of the right strategy.
Pain-Point SEO: How to Produce SEO Content That Drives Conversions
Excellent approach. Read it here…
Takeaway: Instead of going after broad keywords, start with keywords that customers use to describe their pain points before purchasing and work from there.
Advanced Keyword Research: Four Tactics You’re (Probably) Not Using
Excellent guide to some advanced research tactics that have been known, but never written up before. Read it here…
Takeaway: Look for ways to define a “weak” site. It might be new-ness, bad UX, size, etc – take that your list of weak sites, see what they rank for, then go take those rankings. I tell my clients that it’s the “Yahoo! Answers Test” – if a site as bad as Yahoo! Answers shows up – then you should target that keyword.
Google Dataset Search
Google has a new tool! It’s amazing…though I’m still playing around with it. Read it here…
Takeaway: Never take for granted how much information you have at your fingertips right now. It is mind blowing.
Using Google Trends to Get an Edge in Digital Marketing
Very short, but interesting post. Read it here…
Takeaway: Google Trends is useful not only for understanding search terms, but also for understanding your audience. Use it to anticipate spikes & to target geographic areas.
Case study: The tale of two internal link tweaks
Interesting to see the power of basic technical SEO. Read it here…
Takeaway: Your website structure matters to both customers & search engines. Design deliberately.
How to Do a Basic Backlink Audit (in Under 30 Minutes)
Advanced, but well done. Read it here…
Takeaway: Even if you aren’t a professional SEO, it pays to understand who links to your website & why.
How eCommerce Blogging Has Assisted in $40K+ in Sales This Year for a Retail Site
Excellent case study. Read it here…
Takeaway: Good content can perform multiple functions. But you have to be deliberate about creating it.
Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) – All You Need to Know & More
A bit rambly, but a solid overview with good resources. Read it here…
Takeaway: Single keyword ad groups are hard to set up – but they more than pay for themselves in CTR & conversions.
SEO Basics: How to Grow Traffic When You Know Nothing About SEO
Yes! Read it here…
Takeaway: People who are just getting started with a new internet business often get that common feeling that search engine optimization is too technical while the competition in SERPs is enormous. That is simply not true. And SEO is not all or nothing. Every bit of new knowledge adds to your competitiveness.
Aside – here’s a related podcast episode on Top Beginner SEO Tips.
How to Find Consulting Clients
Such a good read. Very instructive and clear. Read it here…
Takeaways: Major progress doesn’t happen gradually, it happens in sudden leaps. Busy people—founders and CEOs—may not have time for meetups, but they sure as hell read Hacker News (or their industry’s equivalent). Sales pitches are repulsive, but helpful information is attractive.
How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Local business fundamentals. Read it here…
Takeaway: Give Google as much information as you can. Keep the information updated. It’s worth the time.
Why You Need 2x Content Not 10x Content
Yes! Read it here…
Takeaway: You cannot simply have one giant, amazing piece of content. You have to have the brand to support it. And you build that brand with above average website content published over…and over…and over.
Why re-pointing high value links still matters in 2018
SEO fundamentals. Read it here…
Takeaway: It’s almost always worth recovering external links – especially if you have legacy domains or retired content projects.
Most Blogs Fail. Why?
Fast, must-read. Read it here…
Takeaway: Pivoting or quitting too early can be worse than never adapting. Content lives off unsexy compound growth.
How to Find & Eliminate 90%+ of Click Fraud in the Google Display Network
The winner is the one who can sort the most spam. Read it here…
Takeaway: Use managed placements in Google AdWords. Start with a high-quality list of websites and build from there.
How to Build More Effective E-Commerce Remarketing with RLSA Segmentation
Excellent guide to a very daunting topic. Read it here…
Takeaway: Segmentation takes time & thought. But it’s how you can be more considerate to your audience AND beat your competition.
The Complete Guide to Direct Traffic in Google Analytics
Self-explanatory. Read it here…
Takeaway: Direct traffic is a giant example of “known unknowns“. But you can significantly reduce Direct traffic with some technical fixes (ie, no redirects, proper tagging, etc). You can also make it useful with secondary dimensions.
Google RankBrain: The Definitive Guide
Ok – 99% of all content related to Google’s RankBrain algorithm is total hogwash. But this one is worthwhile. Read it here…
Takeaway: Google’s search algorithm relies heavily on machine learning. While the fundamentals of SEO are the same as 5 years ago, you do need to think about content differently.
“Marketing” just means being considerate
Short, but so useful. Read it here…
Takeaway: There are thousands of “effective” marketing tactics. Most are inconsiderate to your customers. Don’t do those.
Tracking Hidden Long-Tail Search Traffic
Very advanced SEO post. But – if you rely on organic traffic, this post is worth scanning to understand what data is available – and why it’s useful. Read it here…
Takeaway: You can track hidden long-tail search traffic using Google Search Console data with some straight-forward math. Understanding and monitoring hidden traffic can help diagnose ranking issues and other algorithmic shifts.
The Three Most Important Ecommerce Success Factors
Very useful. Read it here…
Takeaway: The three factors are – Low customer acquisition cost, High repurchase rate & Healthy margins. If you can figure those out, then everything else is a footnote.
Dwell Time: Is it really a ranking factor? (And if so, should you care?)
A useful discussion of a sometimes very frustrating SEO argument. Read it here…
Takeaway: When it comes to Google, there’s only one certainty: They want to make their users happy. And this means showing the best, most relevant result in the #1 spot. Your job is to be that result. So, craft great content that aligns with what your target audience wants. And make sure your website is a pleasure to visit.
Do these two things consistently and you won’t have to worry about dwell time.
How to Use Email Remarketing to Achieve Inbox Domination
Interesting tactic. Read it here…
Takeaway: Creepy advertising…wait…I mean “targeted & relevant” advertising is more accessible to any business – big or small – than ever before. It doesn’t take much experimentation to get ahead of your competition. Read the manual, think through your own goals, your customer goals and test out new channels!
Niche SEO Case Study: The Not-Skyscraper Method Ian Kerins Used to Drive 1.8 Million Unique Visitors to His Blog
A little sensationalist, but this is a solid, sustainable strategy. Read it here…
Takeaway: You do not have to create massive, super-thorough content on a big topics to do well. Instead, you can go for long-tail topics – looking for mid-volume keywords where the search results looked horrendous.
SEO Strategies that actually work for SaaS companies
Excellent post by John Doherty. Read it here…
- Get specific with keyword targeting
- Do *consistent* content development coupled with big launches
- Optimize your website page templates not individual pages
- Improve clickthrough rates on low CTR pages that already get impressions
- Break down team silos internally – do not leave content to the SEO team
How to Drive Low-Cost Conversions with Contextual Display Ads
I’m actually using this channel tactic myself. Read it here…
Takeaway: Most digital ads focus on reaching the right person. But that is lazy and often ineffective. You need to reach the right person at the right time. Layer the Content option in Google Display Ads on top of your Audience option to reach the right person when they are browsing a relevant webpage.
Advanced eCommerce SEO Tactics You Can Copy
Long – but very useful. Read it here…
Takeaways: There are plenty of advanced SEO tactics that you can use to beat Amazon & other large retailers. But you have to know your audience & consistently execute on tactics like –
- Beating Amazon With Customer Service Content And Featured Snippets
- Boosting Rankings With The Right Category Page Text
- Getting Users Hooked With Product Curation And Inspiration
- Driving Conversions And Backlinks With Social Proof
- Educating Users With Microsites And Guides
- Strengthening Internal Linking With HTML Sitemaps And Fat Footers
Five Strategies for Slaying the Data Puking Dragon.
Advanced, but excellent post from Avinash Kaushik (the guy who actually wrote the book on Web Analytics). Read it here…
- Focus only on KPIs, eliminate metrics.
- Focus only on KPIs that have pre-assigned targets.
- Focus on the outliers in your data.
- Cascade the analysis and responsibility for data.
- Get them hooked on text (ie, explain why the metric happened and what action should be taken).
Lessons Learned Growing The Sumo.com Blog From 100,000 To 200,000 Visits In A Month
Useful case study. Read it here…
- Use Weekly Accountability Dashboards Limited To Metrics That You Directly Control.
- Make Mistakes, But Track Them.
- SEO Won’t Save You In The Short Term – Have Alternate Content Types / Promotion Channels.
- Focus Roles – Writers Write. Promoters Promote.
- SEO Is Not The Content Marketing Holy Grail. Converting Paid Traffic Is.
Beyond BuzzFeed: How I used quizzes to generate 10,000+ qualified leads
Very interesting case study. Read it here…
Takeaway: Quizzes / assessments / questionnaires / multi-step forms can dramatically improve the quality & commitment of your leads.
How to Generate Linkable Asset Ideas
Excellent video / post. Read it here…
Takeaway: Instead of random brainstorming, create a framework and backfill with research then create ideas from there. Validate those ideas. Choose based on the most upside (ie, potential link opportunities) with the least downside (ie, ability to re-purpose).
It’s Not About Ranking #1 – The Monopoly Strategy
Great screenshots & explanation. A bit advanced. Read it here…
Takeaway: It’s not enough to simply rank #1 in a set of search results (SERPs). Sometimes that is impossible anyway, depending on your site and the keyword. You also need to be visible on the sites that are ranking well…and on the sites ranking for related keywords.
Steal Our SEO Report Template
Great resource for agencies, freelancers, in-house managers, and DIY website owners. Read it here…
Takeaway: An SEO report isn’t just a data dump. It’s all about helping a client (or yourself) to make sense of this data. Any SEO worth their salt needs to be looking for trends and exploring why and how metrics correlate with one another. And this needs to be communicated to the client in an easy to read and *useful* report.
Is Content Marketing a Waste of Time and Money?
Detailed, very useful, very specific – worthwhile read / bookmark. Read it here…
Takeaway: Content marketing is not necessarily a waste of time and money – but you have to approach correctly. Understand how & why it’s important because it does not drive direct sales at all.
Your Google Rank Doesn’t Matter Anymore
Short, concise, useful. Read it here…
Takeaway: Individual keyword rankings cannot tell you anything meaningful. Bucket your content into topics to judge performance and make decisions. Google’s new Search Console makes this data much more accessible.
Side note – I’ve also written a detailed explainer on this topic.
The Biggest Mistake Digital Marketers Ever Made: Claiming to Measure Everything
Yes, yes, yes. Read it here…
Takeaway: Some things matter even if you can’t measure them. Your brand matters online. People remember sites they like and products they trust. Tools like Google Analytics provide false assurance that you can know everything online. Build great things for your long-term brand even if you can’t quite make the numbers match.
You Pay for AdWords Search Terms, Not Keywords. Here’s Why that Matters
Approachable post. Read it here…
Takeaway: Use Single Keyword Ad Groups in AdWords. Use your Search Terms report to optimize.
Are Yelp ads worth paying for? How to figure it out
A regular question from local business owners. Read it here…
Takeaway: It is difficult to access data from Yelp. However, based on this case study, leads from Yelp are 3x more expensive than leads from a well-managed AdWords account. But they are unique. If you have a high customer lifetime value, they might be worth a trial.
5 SEO Mistakes That Are Costing You Organic Traffic (And How To Fix Them)
Solid interview with John Doherty about the fundamentals. (no more link)
- Want to dominate organic search results? John says that using long-tail keywords is the key: “It’s super fundamental, but most people just don’t do it. Build out specific pages to target your ideal customers.”
- Your content should be “long-form, high-quality stuff that no one else has really written before.” In other words, you can’t just recycle what’s already on the internet. Going above and beyond in your research and adding new insights to your work will make it worth reading and sharing.
- There is no silver bullet with SEO. It’s all in the execution over time. You need to be working on it every day, every week, every month.
How to Promote Your Blog to 1,000,000+ Yearly Visits
Concise guide to what works. Read it here…
Takeaway: Forget “launches” or big promotions. Do consistent work and focus on incremental promotion. Start with Low Difficulty/High Link Topics with Search Volume Over 1K. Always Pick a Distribution Strategy: Mentioned, Cold Outreach, or Search. Leverage the Sharable “Skyscraper” Technique. Slowly Level up to More Difficult Topics.
How Kennedy Blue Increased Sales 50% by Overcoming Sales Objections with Popups
Very interesting & useful. Read it here…
Takeaway: Use your website from your visitor’s perspective. Look for tactical, small improvements to overcome objections.
7 Timeless Internet Marketing Strategies That Work in 2018 (and Beyond)
Concise guide to what works. Read it here…
Takeaway: There’s no need to be “creative” or “brainstorm” an incredible marketing campaign. We know what works. The key is to pick one. Be excellent and consistent at implementation.
How to Set Up Amazon PPC: A 2018 Guide
Must-read for any ecommerce owners. Read it here…
Takeaway: Amazon PPC advertising is the key to achieving product exposure. By bidding on keywords, you have control over whether you’ll rank high in product searches. PPC is an added cost to your budget, but…it also has a “flywheel” effect that generates organic return on investment.
5 Mistakes Every Facebook Advertiser Makes with Interest-Based Targeting
Excellent, detailed. Read it here…
- Understand Who Is Inside an Interest
- Remember That Not All Interests Are Created Equal
- Do Not Go for the Most Obvious Interests
- Always Split Testing
- Always “Layer” Interests
Follow for Follow on Instagram: Is it Worth It?
Good data on an old school social media “tactic”. Read it here…
Takeaway: There are much better ways to spend your time than sitting around following and unfollowing people on social media. Please don’t do that anymore.
Here’s why you can’t blindly trust keyword search volume for traffic estimations
Title says it all. Read it here…
Takeaway: Google SERPs have changed so much in the past few years that search volume is only one of several factors to look at when doing keyword research.
Marketers Spend 20 Hours Every Week on Email. Here’s How to Slash that in Half
To clarify – this is about writing emails. Read it here…
Takeaway: Keep email simple. Design and copy don’t matter as much as the offer.
Bonus – here’s an interesting (but advanced) International SEO Case Study from Pinterest. Main takeaway – ccTLDs are worth the work due to local trust, familiarity, and increased crawl budget on large international sites.
Explore v. Exploit: How to Find the Perfect Content Marketing Formula
Love this. Read it here…
Takeaway: Don’t copy other site’s formulas. Find your own unfair advantage. Focus on readers with intent over audiences. Distill your strategy into a single sentence.
How using search opportunities can guide link-building content strategies
Great tutorial. Read it here…
Takeaway: Look for search results that show prominent image results. Create posts with images that can rank there. Harvest natural links.*
*I’ve been using this strategy. It’s slow, but sustainable. Pair it with Image Raider for reclaiming unlinked mentions.
Google Analytics Mistakes: 30 Common Messups Derailing Your Efforts
Excellent. Read it here…
Takeaway: Your Google Analytics numbers are not accurate. They are close enough to make data driven decisions, but you should work to make them better.
What Are The Basic Ecommerce Metrics I Need To Focus On First?
Great question & great answer. Read it here…
Takeaway: Watch Traffic. Conversion rates. Total sales. Average order value and New vs. returning customers.
How to Use Google Trends for Keyword Research: 7 Effective Ways
Loved this and have already used a tactic from it. Read it here…
- Identify seasonal trends, then create (and promote) content at the RIGHT time!
- AVOID “keyword unicorns” by checking for data-skewing popularity spikes
- Find relevant topics that are trending RIGHT NOW…then capitalize on them
- Use Google Trends data to help plan your content calendar
- Use “related queries” to find NEW keyword ideas (AND even STEAL business from your competitors)
- See EXACTLY which cities and subregions NEED your products or services (then get laser-targeted with your SEO strategy)
- Refine your video SEO strategy by analyzing WHAT people are searching for on YouTube
How We Built a Unique Content Strategy For 4 of Our Clients
Love the specifics. Read it here…
Takeaway: Tie your content strategy to your ideal customer funnel. Layer on keyword research. Then consistently execute.
Two Strategies to Scale Your Facebook Ads
Innovative ideas here. Read it here…
Takeaway: Facebook will happily waste your ad spend if you are not careful. Scale out your campaigns with adjacent but overlapping audiences and by building lookalikes based on more and more specific pixel actions.
Case Study: How One eCommerce Brand Spends Its 7-Figure Adwords Budget
Very interesting. Read it here…
Takeaway: Look in the weeds for unnecessary spending. Maintain separate brand and general campaigns. Be prepared for growth (with an up-to-date, mobile-friendly site).
Local Search Hacks You Probably Haven’t Seen Before
Oh wow. This list is really smart. Read it here…
Takeaway: There are always smarter, more creative ways to solve marketing problems.
White Hat SEO: How to Play by the Rules and Win
Well-done post. Read it here…
Takeaway: There is no tradeoff between playing by the rules & winning in SEO. Doing the right things pay off on multiple levels.
Growing and Scaling a Successful eCommerce Business: The Ultimate Guide
Long, but excellent reference / skim. Read it here…
Takeaway: Do not try to re-invent the wheel with ecommerce (at least, not at first). There are plenty of fundamentals and best practices that can put you in the top 95% of stores.
7+ Ways To Do Better Competitor Research for SEO & Content Marketing
I wrote a post about my approach to competitor research. Read it here…
- Don’t Do Direct Competitor Research
- Do Competitor Research Systematically
- Do Research on Your True Competitors
- Research Successful Content Outliers
- Research Failing Content Outliers
- Research Successful Link & Share Types
- Research 2nd Tier Links & Shares
- Research Customer Language & Feedback
- Intersect Direct Competitors with True Competitors
7 Actionable Ways to Loot Your Competitors’ Backlinks
Takeaway: You should use competitor links as a “base,” then utilize other link building tactics to get MORE backlinks than your competitors.
The Guide to Local Sponsorship Marketing
Very timely & useful. Read it here…
Takeaway: Local sponsorships keep paying marketing dividends well after the the event / sponsorship has finished.
B2B Content Marketing Is Easier Than You Think—Assuming You Follow This One Rule
Short & straightforward. Great examples. Read it here…
Takeaway: Content should be used to alleviate constraints on growth. That means that content marketers need a keen understanding of the business’ pain points long before doing keyword research or putting together an editorial calendar. Raw traffic does not drive sales. Create content that solves problems.
Reverse Engineering YouTube Search
Yes! Real data from Justin Briggsby to fill in gaps in best practices. Read it here…
Takeaway: Like Google Search, there are broad “ranking factors” – but the keys to organic traffic are both simpler & more complicated. To rank in general, you need a high quality channel with good engagement and videos related to search topics. In the weeds though, there are lots of different ranking factors that have way more nuance and variables than standard best practice would lead you to believe.
You Don’t Need an Audience
A short, must-read for anyone creating content. Read it here…
Takeaway: Instead of thinking about building an audience, you should create content that addresses users’ needs as those needs are discovered. Think about building a library for your audience rather than a publication.
12 Underrated Google Analytics Features
According To The Experts
A roundup that is actually useful. Read it here…
Takeaway: Google Analytics has tons of underutilized features that can make your data more useful, including –
- Channel Groupings
- Campaign Tracking (Strategy)
- Custom Alerts
- Reporting Automation
- Conditions (Advanced Segments)
- Sequences (Advanced Segments)
- Cost Data Reports
- Search Terms and Queries
- Enhanced Ecommerce (The Whole Suite)
- Pulling in Data from Outside of Google Analytics
A Simple (But Complete) Guide to Broken Link Building
Excellent tutorial on my personal go-to tactic. Read it here…
Takeaway: Broken link building does still work, and it’s still super scalable. You just need a process. That process should include finding dead links with *lots* of different sites linking to it and a sustainable, thoughtful process for reaching out to offer a replacement.
Seth’s Bike Hacks: Growing a 600k YouTube Channel
This 11 minute YouTube video was really interesting & insightful. Watch it here…
Takeaway: Every marketing channel takes patience & persistence. Impressive work takes time & lots of behind the scenes work. Storytelling & putting facts in context is key.
Twitter Advertising in 2018 – The Complete Guide For Amazing Results
A good, visual beginner’s guide. Read it here…
Takeaway: Twitter has lost a lot of advertisers in the past year – and has changed many of their features. It’s still a tough platform, but represents a useful experimental opportunity with less competition. Start with Tailored Audiences first.
Backlinks: The Definitive Guide
Good resource if you don’t know anything about links for SEO. Note that some of his tactics are a bit dated. Read it here…
Takeaway: Links still matter more than any other single factor for organic search visibility. There’s no single link-building tactic that works anymore. Build pages that people who can link to you will be interested in.
How to Find and Steal Featured Snippets (to Get More Search Traffic)
Very advanced guide – not a ton of information on the stealing part, but insightful nonetheless. Read it here…
Takeaway: With 8.6% of clicks (on average) going to the featured snippet, it pays to be proactive about securing the snippets you have. So be sure to optimize your content to prevent competitors from stealing them. But don’t stop there: find low-hanging featured snippet opportunities (i.e., those for which you already rank in the top10, or those that competitors currently own) and steal them.
How to Weave Content Marketing Into the Fabric of Your Company
Concise, excellent piece. Read it here…
Takeaway: Building content that drives sales usually doesn’t come from an isolated content team. Instead, your marketing team should help guide, edit & build content from your entire team.
How Buffer Grew Their YouTube Channel by 59% in 30 Days
Visual, tactical, extremely useful. Read it here…
Takeaway: Create videos around topics that have search interest. Optimize your video elements for watch time. Spend extra time on YouTube video details like transcripts, tags, descriptions, playlist structure, etc.
Decoding Personal Injury Attorney PPC Strategies for Profit
Excellent place to look for case studies. Read it here…
Takeaway: A long-tail local keyword strategy is the most effective when it comes to reducing your CPC and overall acquisition costs. There’s always opportunity in local segmentation, pre-qualifying landing pages, and pushing mobile ads to call-only.
A 16-Step SEO Audit Process To Boost Your Google Rankings
Good DIYer resource. Read it here…
Takeaway: Good systems, checklists, and consistent improvement are the stuff of SEO wins.
Efficient Link Reclamation: How to Speed Up & Scale Your Efforts
This one gets in the weeds with tools, but it’s useful for high-conversion link building. Read it here…
Takeaway: Once you’ve found a way to build good, quality links, look for ways to “scale” up your process with tools.
Using Remarketing Lists For Search Ads: 7 Examples To Catapult Successful Campaigns
Very advanced but very effective PPC tactic. Read it here…
Takeaway: If you spend significant budget on PPC, you need to have an RLSA campaign. And if you aren’t spending any money on PPC…you should start with an RLSA campaign.
Content Strategy for Multi-Product Companies
Always thoughtful & useful post from Jimmy Daly. Read it here…
Takeaway: You probably already know the type of content you need…you just need to document & map it out. Look for overlaps. Look for high potential opportunities.
A 5-Step Online Reputation Management Guide (That ANYONE Can Follow)
I generally disdain the reputation management side of SEO. But. Sometimes it’s needed. This post provides a good balance and good approach. Read it here…
Takeaway: If you have a bad “reputation” online – fix the underlying causes first. Second, map out a strategy to dominate your brand terms – and keep the conversation on your site. Then work within the platform’s rules to address negative reviews. Remember that bad reviews are not bad. They provide an opportunity to showcase your response and show that you are a real business that makes mistakes & has tradeoffs like everyone else.
Hacking Podcast Ads: How to Reach Podcast Audiences with Paid Social Ads
Smart tactic. Read it here…
Takeaway: Target podcasts as an Interest on FB / Twitter / Reddit / etc. Use PPC ads to target the promos of the companies paying to advertise on the podcasts. If you get results, then reach out to the actual podcast.
Top of Funnel Content Creates All Kinds of Problems—But You Should Create It Anyway
Yes, yes, yes. Read it here…
Takeaway: The reason top of funnel traffic is necessary is because when done well, it makes it easier to rank for the middle and bottom of the funnel content that actually will convert readers into customers. Forget conversions on your top of funnel posts. Focus on earning good links, then let your middle and bottom of funnel content drive new users.
Amazon SEO: How to Rank Highly for Amazon Searches
Always good to see a usable guide to anything Amazon. Read it here…
Takeaway: Amazon’s overriding search ranking factor is sales. Optimize for that.
How to Write Better Email Outreach Templates Using A.I.D.A
Good tip for really any email. Read it here…
Takeaway: Treat your emails as if they were “ads” for your pitch. Customize each one for effectiveness.
21 Actionable SEO Techniques That Work GREAT in 2018
All of these are pretty good. Read it here…
Takeaway: There are no real shortcuts in SEO anymore. But there are plenty of good techniques that, when used consistently, generate good results.
Advanced Remarketing: How to Build an Intent Map
Very advanced, but interesting. Read it here…
Takeaway: Even if you don’t use advanced remarketing, simply mapping out potential objections or customer paths can be useful.
Beyond Transcripts: How We Grew SEO Traffic by 45.96% for a Video Platform Site
Good overview of a balanced approach. Read it here…
Takeaway: Balance content for existing users with content deliberately focused on new users.
Google Analytics Segments: Discovering Data Relationships That Impact Results
In my experience, segments are one of the most under-used Google Analytics features. Read it here…
Takeaway: Use segments in Google Analytics to get truly useful data.
How to Evolve Beyond “Actionable Content”
Concise, interesting. Read it here…
Takeaway: “Create actionable content” is not a strategy. It could be one piece of a comprehensive approach, but this cliché has gotten a lot of content marketers into trouble over the last few years. Spend time understanding your readers and your business, then make deliberate decisions about exactly what kind of content to create.
Scraping ‘People Also Ask’ boxes for SEO and content research
Very advanced – but very interesting. Read it here…
Takeaway: Exploring People Also Ask boxes within search results is a critical part of keyword research.
91% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. And How to Be in the Other 9%.
Nothing extraordinary, but always good to see hard data in a case study. Read it here…
Takeaway: Sometimes there is a mismatch between content that gets links and content that engages readers.
How to Use Pinterest: The Insider Guide for Businesses
Good beginner’s guide. Read it here…
Takeaway: There’s no real secret sauce to Pinterest. Consistency based on deliberate research beats almost every tactic / tool over the long term.
Super Fantastic Guide to Optimizing Google My Business
A fantastic guide for local business owners. Read it here…
Takeaway: If you get business from local searches – you need to understand and stay on top of your Google My Business Dashboard.
Link Building Strategies That Scale in 2018
Solid tactics. Read it here…
Takeaway: Look for opportunities to use –
- Brand Monitoring/Link Moves
- Build Link Page Focused Guides
- Quality Shareables Aimed at Bloggers
- Finance: News and Tangential Markets
- High Funnel Topics w/ Intent to Link
- KEYWORD Statistic” Posts
How to Run Top-Performing eCommerce Ads in AdWords (for Less Spend)
Excellent tutorial. Read it here…
Takeaway: Segment as much as possible – for products, landing pages, keyword targeting & ad text. Use as many extensions as possible.
The Fallacy of Always Being Busy
Excellent post for digital marketers. Read it here…
Takeaway: Here’s the thing about digital marketing – at any given moment, there are millions of tasks that you could do. And every single one would help you. But there are only a few that truly matter in the long-term. Do those tasks consistently and well.
The Proven Formula for Doubling Your Blog Traffic in 3 Months (Without Creating New Content)
Very tactical w/ screenshots. Read it here…
Takeaway: If you’ve already created plenty of potentially valuable content, then you’ll get much faster results re-optimizing it than trying to constantly pump out new pieces.
How to Grow a Blog the Hard Way
Yes. Read it here…
Takeaway: Expertise – not words – makes content valuable. Find people who have expertise and teach them to write rather than vice versa.
9 Ways to Promote Your Amazon Listings and Sell More Products
Always good to see Amazon content. Read it here…
Takeaway: Amazon listings thrive on a sales feedback loop. Both internal & external promotion can make the feedback look stronger. Just because a tactic does not drive direct sales does not mean that it’s worthless.
Content Strategy for Publishers w/ Former New York Times SEOs
Very advanced, but amazing information for anyone who works as a professional SEO or with a large website. Read it here…
Takeaway: Unlike social traffic, SEO brings long-term, consistent traffic that you can build over time.
Ecommerce SEO: A Simple (But Complete) Guide for 2018
I’ve linked to a lot of these guides – but this one is really good. Read it here…
Takeaway: Ecommerce SEO is not particularly difficult – but it is hard. There’s a lot of work and a lot of tradeoffs. Stores that put in the work can come out ahead – even in verticals with brand name competition.
What Do SEOs Do When Google Removes Organic Search Traffic?
Recurring but interesting topic. Read it here…
Takeaway: Look for opportunities to diversify your traffic sources.
*Note from Nate – I do find it ironic that for all worry about over-dependence on Google – the real culprit of lost traffic has been social platforms. Organic search has been remarkably stable for the past 5+ years. So you should diversify from Google…but focus more on diversifying your content rather than building up any specific traffic source.
Google Analytics RegEx: Ultimate Super Powered Guide To Data Tracking
So geeky, so powerful. Read it here…
Takeaway: Regex looks really weird & really daunting. But learn a few concepts and you’ll be able to find more useful data than ever before.
Why Your eCommerce Conversion Rate Is Probably Better Than You Think
Simple. I love this – not just for ecommerce sites. Read it here…
Takeaway: Look at User conversions – not session conversions. Sessions could be anything.
How to Create Sidebars That Help SEO
Love this. Read it here…
Takeaway: Like many website defaults, sidebars are easy to underestimate and ignore. Be thoughtful and deliberate with your design.
How to Optimize Car Dealership Websites
The rare, super-specific SEO case study find. Read it here…
Takeaway: Every industry has different priorities for SEO – even if the ingredients are the same.
99 Things You Can Do with Google Tag Manager
Useful list – even if you aren’t using GTM right now. Read it here…
Takeaway: Google Tag Manager is a daunting but also incredible tool for those willing to hack around and try things out.
What is “Good Content”?
Excellent piece. Read it here…
Takeaway: Good content goes beyond being well-written. It means having the right angle, at the right time, with the right words / format with the right distribution.
Why Organic Search Traffic Declines—and What to Do About It
I could not have written a better post than this. Read it here…
Takeaway: The post is short – you should just click over to read it.
Local SEO: A Simple (But Complete) Guide
46% of all Google Searches are local. Read it here…
Takeaway: Build locally-focused content, understand & capture local citations. Capture local links.
Six Nudges: Creating A Sense Of Urgency For Higher Conversion Rates!
Solid post for ecommerce owners. Read it here…
Takeaway: Use –
- In-stock status.
- Life of current price.
- Direct competitor comparisons.
- Delivery times based on geo/IP/mobile phone location.
- Social cues to the rescue.
- Basic Personalization. Yes, from 1995!
How To Use Quora For SEO & Content Marketing
I updated this ShivarWeb classic from 2 years ago. Read it here…
Takeaway: Use Quora to understand the more complex “question behind the keyword” when doing your keyword research. If people are asking questions on Quora – there is a *high* likelihood that there are plenty of frustrated Google users out there looking for the right content.
How To Convert Local Searchers Into Customers With Reviews
Must-read for local website owners. Read it here…
Takeaway: Reviews are hard. But they are hard for *every* business. Every review you receive represents a slightly wider competitive moat. They help both rankings & conversions and are worth the investment of time & creativity.
The Sunk Cost Fallacy in Content Marketing
Excellent read. Read it here…
Takeaway: Invest time in removing, combining & updating your under-performing website content.
How to Save 47% on Your MailChimp Bill
Great tutorial. Read it here…
Takeaway: Number of email subscribers is a vanity metric. Focus on reaching active subscribers, re-engaging non-active subscribers, and removing any non-active subscribers who are no longer interested.
27 Ways to Increase Website Traffic in 2018
A bit advanced, a bit jargon-y, and vert tactics-focused. But – a creative list to explore regardless. Read it here…
Takeaway: There is no single path to increasing your website traffic – but there are plenty of tactics to mix & match depending on your audience, goals & skill set.
How to Use “Freshness Distance” to Improve Rankings
Advanced keyword research. Very smart & innovative. approach. Read it here…
Takeaway: When you are evaluating keyword difficulty, look for outdated content in SERPs that require freshness. Develop a schedule to stay in the top quintile of content freshness for your target keyword theme.
The 411 on Low Search Volume Keywords
Interesting for PPC advertisers. Read it here…
Takeaway: Low search volume keywords are worth keeping in your campaign if you know that they are high value, high conversion keywords. And if they are valuable enough, you should use other networks to generate new search volume for those terms so that they will be re-activated.
Link Reclamation: How to Easily Find (and Reclaim) Lost Backlinks
I love this type of link building. Read it here…
Takeaway: Link reclamation takes more research than most link building methods, but offers very high conversion rates & simple outreach.
How to Get over Perfectionism (and Execute on Your Ideas)
Yes. Read it here…
Takeaway: Marketing ideas do not matter nearly as much as consistent execution.
What I Learned Analyzing 60 Days of Emails from a Fast-Growing Ecommerce Brand
Very interesting & very thorough. Read it here…
Takeaway: Do not try to reinvent something already done well. Take something that is known to work and improve on it.
Digital Marketer’s Guide To Google Ads
Excellent reference piece for anyone looking to use Google Ads. Read it here…
Takeaway: Google Ads is the best advertising platform for any business…ever. *But* it is also easy to waste a lot of money, so it’s critical to start small and understand your options.
Do You Need Local Pages?
Concise & smart. Read it here…
Takeaway: Never blindly apply *any* SEO “best practice” – make sure each tactic works for your business in your industry and your location.
How to Find Backlinks (That You Can Replicate)
Advanced but smart SEO post. Read it here…
Takeaway: Links are hard, but they are hard for everyone. Time invested in a smart link building strategy pays compounding interest.
How to Earn More Links: Adding Context to Content Analysis
Very advanced. But – a must-read for anyone who does content / SEO professionally. Read it here…
Takeaway: Statistical outliers provide more valuable lessons than non-outliers. Instead of analyzing content from big websites (who often get links because they are big), analyze content from small websites that outperforms given their competition. You will find more useful lessons.
3 Eye-Opening Content Hacks for ‘Boring’ Businesses
Lots of good examples here.Read it here…
Takeaway: #1 – Forget Exciting — Think ‘Useful & Interesting’; #2 – Actually Become Useful & Interesting for a Specific Audience; #3 – Instead of brainstorming, use Templates, Topic Outlines, and Content Types to systematically create & multiply individual ideas.
SEO Content Strategy: How to Build a 250k+ Visit Process
Classic post, recently updated. Read it here…
Takeaway: SEO has more uncertainty & variability than PPC, but you should still use a process to achieve your goals.
How to Use Custom Affinity Audiences for More Cost-Effective Google Display Ads
Very interesting idea for testing a GDN campaign. Read it here…
Takeaway: Never use Google’s default settings. Instead, combine & layer default features to create unique campaigns.