Last week, reports surfaced suggesting the possibility that Google has made changes to local map results.

As detailed by Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz, in the past week numerous individuals in the SEO community reported seeing compression in the local map pack results. One SEO who was monitoring results for clients observed “massive compression”:

In many tested areas (legal, dog boarding, photographers) we were seeing 4+ pages of map search results — now seeing one page (two at most).

Seems like centroids have increased as well – and its different for different business types. For example, “family photographers austin” results stop at the city line (results last week included suburbs and surrounding towns. But “wedding photographers austin” takes in the whole Austin DMA.

Others reported observing similar behavior, which, if put into practice more widely, could help some businesses and hurt others.

new-pack-ad

For example, one SEO commented, “I am seeing it here as well and while for my clients that have multiple locations across the city, its great, but for clients who have one location and get business from all over the city, its hurting them in a big big way!” He added, “Just because a business has more locations doesn’t mean they should be the ones showing up in the majority of searches.”

Obviously, Google might beg to differ. After all, Google’s goal is to deliver the most relevant results to its users, a growing number of whom are accessing Google from mobile devices.

To the extent that it can reliably deliver highly-relevant, hyperlocal results personalized to specific users based on their current locations, there’s arguably no reason for Google not to. This is especially true given that, as of last year, Google’s local map pack only displays three results instead of seven.

That change made optimization even more important for local marketers.

Hyperlocal’s impact on strategy

While it remains to be seen whether or not the results observed in recent days are a result of experimentation or permanent, larger changes, they are a reminder of the fact that local businesses compete in a dynamic online marketplace that constantly requires them to reevaluate their strategies and tactics.

Optimization is no doubt and important part of that process, but an even greater hyperlocal push by Google highlights why alternative and emerging channels will probably grow in importance to local marketers in coming years.

Al Roberts is a staff writer for ClickZ and SEW

Related reading

Do you know how to speak ‘search engine’? If there ever was a universal language for communicating with search engines, Schema.org is … read more

Let’s start with the bad news first. It’s tougher than ever to get your content noticed. Changes to Google’s search results pages … read more

With the increasing dominance of mobile across all industries, business owners and influencers in every sector from retail to finance are making … read more

SEO should be the cornerstone of any site migration strategy. SEOs need to get in on the action from the word go, to safeguard our most important asset.

via Search Engine Watch – Latest http://ift.tt/29W0wMK

gears-automation-motion-action-ss-1920

Both technology and automation play a huge role in the digital marketing space. Paid search and social functionality is more complex than ever, the number of platforms and networks that need to be managed is constantly expanding and clients are demanding deeper analysis and insights. These convergent dynamics put a strain on the account manager’s ability to efficiently manage accounts.

The right technology provides the ability to automate routine tasks and solve complex problems quickly, which frees up account managers to focus more on strategic planning and exploring new growth opportunities.

Defining automation requirements

The difficult part about automating a PPC account is figuring out where to begin. How do we determine what to automate, and how do we identify the right set of technologies for the job?

The first step in the process of answering this question is fully understanding what an account’s goals are (or should be). You can find out this information through business download meetings, comprehensive data analysis, industry analysis and account audits. Once you’ve clearly defined goals, you must devise a strategy to reach those goals.

A clear strategy brings into focus the types of tasks that need to be completed and the kinds of technologies and automations needed to execute it. Below is an example of how I determined the automations needed to reach goals for an account I manage.

The account has a cost-per-lead goal of $200. Our optimizations primarily consist of pausing non-converting spend, adjusting bids either up or down depending on individual keyword performance, analysis of search query reports for negative matches and analysis of placement reports to identify non-performing sites to exclude.

We complete these optimizations on varying schedules ranging from daily to monthly. Because the account is so large, it takes a ton of time to manually complete these routine tasks and takes away from working on higher-impact growth initiatives.

Based on the above information, we were able to implement a comprehensive set of automation rules to manage standard account optimizations. Here’s a sampling of some of the rules we set:

  • Pause all keywords spending more than $300 without a conversion over the past 30 days.
  • Pause all ad groups spending more than $300 without a conversion over the past 30 days.
  • Reduce bids 25 percent on all keywords with a greater than $500 cost per acquisition over the past 30 days.
  • Exclude all placements with 0 conversions and more than 25 clicks.
  • Pause queries with 0 conversions and more than $300 in spend.

Any automation we put in place should directly support the outcome that we’re trying to achieve. Automation rules that aren’t in alignment with overall account strategy can lead to poor performance. Carefully think through any automation plan, and consider both the benefits and risks before implementing.

What kind of technology should I use?

The answer to this question is, “It depends.” There are dozens of technology solutions on the market, ranging from reporting platforms to bid management solutions to technology that automates creative testing.

Additionally, the advertising platforms themselves offer automated bid management functionality and provide the ability to pause keywords, ad groups and campaigns, based on specifically defined criteria. You can even set up scripts in Google that allow for paid search accounts to be integrated into an organization’s inventory or CRM system.

Budget and account size certainly play a large part in deciding whether to utilize a third-party technology solution or free tools the advertising platforms offer. It’s important to weigh cost vs. time saved in order to focus on big strategic initiatives.

At Hanapin, we utilize a reporting tool called NinjaCat. This reporting tool automatically pulls spend from a variety of advertising platforms and other associated account data such as clicks, impressions and click-through rate. The tool allows you to create dashboards and KPI graphs that track performance vs. your goal(s). It’s well worth the monetary investment, because automating data collection (rather than compiling it manually) frees up account managers to focus on taking action in accounts.

When deciding whether to use paid technology vs. a less powerful free tool, I use the following criteria:

  • Can free automation tools help me meet account goals and execute strategy effectively?
  • Do paid tools offer me functionality that provides deeper performance insights that I can’t get from free tools?
  • Will I save a significant amount of time with a free tool, above and beyond what I would save by using a paid tool?

Having a defined criteria for when to use technology will make it easier to decide whether or not it’s worthwhile to invest in technology.

Final thoughts

You should deploy technology primarily to quickly and efficiently execute strategy and reach goals. Too often, automation is narrowly viewed as a shortcut to reducing workload. While it’s important to make workloads more efficient, it’s more important not to lose sight of the big picture, which is improving account performance.


Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Jeff Baum is a seasoned PPC advertising professional with Hanapin Marketing. He has a 12 year track record of success in digital advertising. He has developed and implemented strategies to substantially grow revenue and profits for a variety of lead generation and e-commerce businesses. He has also been responsible and accountable for managing hundreds of thousands of dollars in PPC advertising spend per month. Jeff is a recurring writer for Hanapin’s blog, PPC Hero, and also manages Hanapin’s RWE (Remote Work Environment) program.

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template_editorial_reporting

We all have the best of intentions to communicate regularly with our teams about what content is working well in editorial. Yet, too often those intentions become overwhelmed by the day-to-day activities.

A systematic approach to editorial reporting, however, can make action possible. And after all, we know that a documented content marketing strategy enables content marketing programs to be more effective. Imagine what a documented editorial reporting plan could do for your team.

I’ll admit that I was as guilty as the next person who leads a content team. While I talk regularly with everyone on our CMI team, my formal updates on our content progress were hit or miss.

Enter my new, systematic editorial update. It’s a Google Slides presentation that details our key metrics – and more importantly, explains how the team can use every piece of data to take action. A work in progress, this collaborative document answers the editorial team’s questions while keeping me accountable.

From my perspective, having a structure on how to report progress has saved me time, and I’ll be more easily able to track trends month over month.

Notes and cheat sheet

Before we dig into specifics, here are a few things to consider as well as a quick checklist of the data for your reference:

  • I don’t include data for the sake of reporting data. Each slide includes an orange box that explains how I use this data.
  • I don’t want everybody on the team to have to go to five sources to get the information they need. Each slide includes a source line so everyone knows where the data originated.
  • I am considering two versions of this update — one for the editorial team who likes a lot of details, and a shorter, simpler version for other company teams so they can understand trends. Right now, I use a single presentation for all.
  • While you can use this as a template, you need to customize for what is important to your team.
  • In general, I look at year-over-year performance instead of month over month to account for the varying number of days per month (e.g., it’s easy for March numbers to surpass February’s because March has two or three more days) and seasonality (e.g., our numbers always dip over the December holidays).
  • Make your update as “cookie cutter” as possible so someone (who is not you) can help collect the data. Of course, you need to add the analysis.

With that, I present our template for the editorial status (special thanks to creative director, Joseph Kalinowski, who designed this template.) If you want to save a copy to customize:

  • Go to File > Make a Copy and save it as a new Google Slide presentation.
  • Go to File > Download As > Microsoft PowerPoint to save it as a PowerPoint presentation.

CMI-Editorial-Status-Report

Below is a quick look at what to consider including in your editorial status report. Read further down for more details of each.

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR EDITORIAL CHECKLIST

checklist-editorial-status

Click to enlarge

Update on primary goals

The initial slide should include an update on the main goals for your content marketing program. What impact do you want your content efforts to have on your business? (Understanding what success means is a key differentiator between effective marketers and their less effective peers.) For CMI, these are things like email subscribers, CCO subscribers, event registrants, and CMI University students.

How to use this data: Even though your editorial may not directly impact all of these goals, it is helpful to have these metrics front and center so people are thinking about how the content they create will impact these goals.

How to get this data: This will depend on what goals you are tracking and what systems you are using. (A lame answer, I know, but it gets much more specific as you read on.)

Top blog posts by traffic

These are the blog posts of the reporting month that get the highest amount of traffic on the website.

How to use this data: High traffic can be an indicator of topics the audience is interested in and/or popular authors. We also review these posts to make sure they are optimized.

How to get this data:

Google Analytics > Overview > Behavior Flow > Site Content

BONUS TIP: On a quarterly basis, I run this analysis for top blog posts that weren’t published in that month as well as our static web pages. I want to make sure these perennially popular pages are getting regular tune-ups.

Also, ask are there opportunities to link to this high-performing content? And what are people clicking once they are on these pages?

Conversion champion posts

Conversion champions are posts that convert better than other posts. Of course, conversion will mean different things to you, but at CMI, we track new email subscribers.

How to use this data: If you track just one piece of data per month, this would be it. While it’s interesting to see what posts are getting traffic and social shares, what really helps reach your goals?

At CMI, we prioritize posts based on re-sharing on social because they are great candidates to add to high-traffic pages.

How to get this data: How you get this info varies, and it will likely require some manual work. For a great explanation, see No. 2 in this post from CMW speaker Andy Crestodina: 3 Internal Linking Strategies for SEO and Conversions.

Top pages by traffic

These are the website pages (not posts) that get the highest amount of traffic. While these pages are unlikely to change from month to month, these are key to your tracking to keep them on everyone’s mind.

How to use this data: The editorial team pays close attention to these pages to answer:

  • How are bounce rates trending? Are people sticking or leaving from these pages?
  • Are there opportunities to link to high-performing content? (See conversion champion category above.)
  • What are people clicking on once they are on these pages?

How to get this data: Google Analytics > Overview > Behavior Flow > Site Content

Overview of traffic by channels

I like to look at how traffic is coming to the website by channels. I use the same breakdown that is presented in Google Analytics:

  • Organic search
  • Direct
  • Email
  • Social
  • Referral
  • Other

How to use this data: The channel report is interesting for a few reasons:

  • It helps you focus your promotion efforts. If certain channels are bringing in the bulk of the traffic, focus on those.
  • You can look at year-over-year trends to see how your efforts are helping. For instance, are any sources seeing a drop in traffic? If so, why may this be?
  • Organic search traffic is typically traffic coming from older content whereas email traffic (and often traffic from social) is likely a better indicator of how your most recent content is performing.

Of course, many organizations, including CMI, have marketing teams that play a huge hand in the success of their content so this data is not something specific to editorial.

How to get this data: Google Analytics > Overview > All Traffic > Channels

Top posts on social shares

While I don’t think social-sharing metrics are all that critical, it is interesting to see which posts are shared most on which networks – so team members can continue to share specific posts that perform well on those platforms.

How to use this data: Lisa Dougherty, who manages our blog, shares our top posts with the team each month. While these updates had focused more generally on top posts, she is now calling out which posts are most widely shared on which social network so our team can customize what they share where.

How to get this data: If you have collected social metrics, you know that they vary from source to source (what you see on your website is likely different than what is reported in BuzzSumo or TrackMaven, for instance.) Instead of focusing on the absolute number, pick one source of truth and then track the relative performance.

BONUS TIP: Use one slide per social channel to give people on your team details on what to share on the proper channel.

Top posts via email

I also started looking at which posts are getting the most traffic from our daily and weekly emails.

How to use this data: Email is a key channel for us at CMI, so in addition to tracking how much traffic is getting to the site via email in general, it’s useful to see if any types of posts are resonating especially well with our subscribers.

How to get this data: Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels > Email
NOTE: Primary dimension needs to be Landing Page.

BONUS TIP: You can track which pages are getting the most traffic from organic search, but this often does not make much sense on a monthly basis as it takes time for posts to generate search volume.

Subscription offers

If you are getting email subscribers through gated offers, how are these people coming into the system?

How to use this data: The editorial team can see gated offers are most effective and use in blog post links and calls to action.

How to get this data: This will vary depending on your systems.

BONUS TIP: If your gated offers aren’t drawing as many subscribers as you would like, consider making them freely accessible on something like SlideShare.

Analysis

Once we curate all of the data, the fun part begins. I analyze all of the data and look for trends on topics and themes that our audience is interested in. I report on a few things:

  • What trends are we seeing this month? Are these new or a continuation of what we have been seeing?
  • Are any authors performing really well?
  • What isn’t working so well? (We recently added this category. While I hesitated to call out the poor performers, it is good for everyone to know and learn from.)

Other ideas

Of course, your editorial status can also include other things pertinent to your team. For instance, our status also includes:

  • Current and upcoming projects: As part of the monthly editorial update, we include a quick run-down of any major changes or projects coming down the pike so the team is in the loop.
  • Top Click to Tweets: In the past several months, we started including Click-to-Tweets in our posts, which is a widget we use to call out tweets that readers can easily share with one click. Are these worth the time and what type of tweets are tweeted most often? We also consider where these tweets were placed in the post. Do the first tweets get tweeted most often?
  • Keywords to consider for posts: Our SEO consultant, Mike Murray, gives us a monthly update of how our search is trending. As part of this report, he provides suggestions for keywords we may want to consider creating content for as a way to round out our editorial.

I’d love your thoughts. Is this useful? What types of information do you include in your status?

Want to be part of our conversion analytics? Subscribe today to receive the free daily or weekly newsletter.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

The post A Template to Simplify Your Editorial Reporting  appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.

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Google Search

is, undoubtedly, the single most important thing within

Google

, be it popularity-wise or financially speaking. And Search got smarter and smarter throughout the years, with the introduction of things like the

Knowledge Graph

— which, as of this week,

incorporates songs’ lyrics

, too — and indeed voice input.

But there are just so many things you can ask (and ways to do so) that knowing them all would be close to impossible. However, devloper Kristijan Ristovski (Kitze) may have come up with a handy solution…


Bored with the fact that these lists are constantly being updated (by Google and others), he decided to make an all-encompassing one of his own.

This is a list of commands that you can ask Google’s voice assistant.

Annoyed by the fact that every once in a while a new “complete list of google now commands” appears online, i decided to create this project.

After few days of research i found an extensive list of over 150 commands and 1000+ variations. I’ll try to keep it up to date, and in v2 i’ll add an easy way for the community to contribute.

The project will be open sourced soon, but if you find any bugs or issues feel free to report them on GitHub right now.

To see it, you will simply have to go to the aptly-named ok-google.io website, whose incredibly minimalist and focused UI will first present you with a sleek, Material Design-esque animation, and then give you a comprehensive idea of the kind of things you can ask Google (on the dedicated app on iOS and Android, which of course has the feature embedded system-wise too) and have a vocal response.

It’s also cool to see that hovering over (or tapping on) the highlighted hotwords will show you different results, so to give you and even better understanding of the numerous variables Google is capable of handling. Did you know that each actor has a bacon number?

via 9to5Google http://ift.tt/292pwO1

Landing pages are intended to be simple and straightforward – a single page designed to get a specific audience to take an action.
Marketers use landing pages to get people to:

  • Make a product purchase
  • Opt-in to get a promotional product like an ebook or report
  • Request more information or a consult
  • Urge an audience to subscribe

You’d think that creating a page for such simple tasks would be easy, especially when you consider the wealth of tools at our disposal for building out landing pages.

And, in fact, the act of producing landing pages is actually not complicated – at least, until you factor in the human component of your audience.

People, the ones you want to get to take a specific action, muck up the entire process and make landing pages much more difficult.

There’s no specific way to design or configure a landing page to ensure it’s going to perform a certain way or deliver favorable conversions.

All you have is your research and whatever knowledge you may have picked up about copy and landing page best practices, so you go on intuition.

You’re not alone in that. Over 60% of marketers optimize sites based on intuition alone.

Then the testing starts. And despite everything you feel you’ve done correctly, you go through what many others experience: lackluster conversion rates.

There are a lot of changes and tweaks you can make, but don’t approach your landing page like a master control panel where you start pulling levers and pushing buttons blindly.

There are 5 key areas where you can start making small challenges to positively influence your conversion rates.

1. Trust Signals

Simply put, if you don’t have trust, then you don’t have sales. You may have been funneling traffic to your landing pages as a result of lead nurturing, but chances are you’ve got some fresh landing page traffic made up of people who have no idea who you are.

Even if you’ve been nurturing your leads via email and building a relationship, you still need strong trust signals to boost the confidence of your audience and help tip them over into a conversion.

perry-marshall-endorsed-trust-signal

Social proof

Social proof tells your audience that you can be trusted because other people have trusted you and made an investment of time and/or money. If you’ve got the attention and business of these other people, then you must be credible to some degree.

Some of the most common ways of adding social proof to a landing page include highlighting social shares, number of purchases, subscriber counts, or social followers.

Supplier/manufacturer affiliation

If you partner with any brand, be it a major organization or an influencer, getting their name or logo on your landing page creates an affiliation in the mind of the audience.

The audience will perceive you as more trustworthy and credible because you’re working with X brand, which must mean that X brand trusts you.

You’ll see this a lot with brand mentions that include “As seen on” logo placements.

Third-party certifications

They may not seem like much, but certifications can put a lot of people at ease, especially if you’re asking them to give you money or personal information. Using third-party certifications such as the Better Business Bureau and VeriSign create a perception of authority around your landing page and brand.

Testimonials

Testimonials are another form of social proof, and are one of the strongest trust symbols. According to Nielsen, 83% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, and 66% trust consumer opinions posted online.

If you can, share the full details from customers, including their name and city if they’re comfortable with it. Because it’s easy to fake testimonials (and many online consumers know it) it pays to be as transparent as possible.

most-trusted-ad-formats

2. Fix Your Call to Action and Make it Obvious

Remember what I said above: your landing page has a single goal. The only way you’re going to get your audience to take action is if you make that goal 100% clear to the people landing on your page.

If you don’t have your call to action where it’s visible, above the fold, then it’s virtually impossible to direct people to take action.

The reason for this is because most people spend less than 15 seconds on any given web page, which means most won’t even bother scrolling. They’ll glance, their brain will decide whether you’re relevant or not, and they’ll bounce.

If you hide your call to action below the fold, bury it in clutter, or don’t make it stand out, then you’ll lose a considerable amount of conversions.

lean-startup-landing-page

Eric Ries’ Lean Startup keeps the call to action above the fold and clearly visible.

Everything your audience needs to make a decision should be above the fold, but don’t necessarily try to put all of your content above the fold.

Likewise, it takes more than the placement of the call to action to make it effective. It also needs to be compelling.

Use power words

Avoid using corporate babble and industry jargon. Stick with practical language and power words that are proven to compel people to take action.

Use active language

Remember that your call to action is telling your audience to do something. Use verbs that inspire that action, such as “Join,” “Subscribe,” “Download,” etc.

Make it stand out

You want your call to action to stand out from everything else on the page, but you also want it to be consistent with the design and theme.

Tim Ferriss uses a great CTA design that clearly shows his audience where to begin.

4-hour-workweek-landing-page

I also want to point out the trust signals he uses on his landing page.

Use brevity

The best CTAs say the most in the fewest words, so limit them to around 90-150 characters. That’s about 5-7 words. If your call to action is too long, then you lose the hook, and if it’s too short, it may not clearly convey what step visitors should take (or why.)

Make it personal

Avoid using broad calls to action like “Start today.” Instead, personalize it to the user so it reads more like “Start your trial today.”

my-perfect-resume

3. Remove the Ability to go Elsewhere

Clear navigation and links are great to use in your content marketing and on your website to help you expand on concepts and help the audience get to a destination, but they don’t belong on your landing page.

Your landing page is the destination.

You never want to give visitors the ability to click out of this endpoint in your funnel. Remove the navigation from your landing page, and avoid adding links to your content at all costs.

no-navigation-variation-page

I also recommend adding in an exit pop-up that will appear based on user behavior, such as if the user moves their mouse toward the top of the browser. This pop-up should encourage them to stay and focus their attention on the main call to action.

social-triggers-get-subscribers

4. Add Visual Engagement

If you’re getting great traffic but the conversions are low, try to incorporate visual elements as a way to improve engagement and keep the attention of your audience.

People who view video are almost 2x as likely to make a purchase, and, according to another study, the addition of video to a landing page can increase conversions by as much as 80%.

video-crazy-egg

Even if you can’t create high-quality video content, you can still use relevant images to seal the deal with your audience. Include high-definition product photos, illustrations, or quality screenshots for digital services that show some behind-the-scenes product/service use.

cheezburger-showcase-your-humor

Think like a shopper – people often want to pick up, look at, and handle a product before they purchase it. Visuals make the audience feel like they’re doing just that. This is why e-commerce sites rely on detailed and numerous product photos to help sell their goods.

5. Improve the Copy

Your copy consists of every written element on your page, especially the headlines. It should be compelling, free of errors, and written in a way that makes an emotional and psychological connection with your target audience.

It also needs to be presented in a way that’s easily scannable, with the most critical points standing out with formatting and design elements like bullets and callouts.

money-like-an-expert-landing-page

I can’t tell you what you should say – that’s going to be based entirely on your audience and what they need to hear, so that’s where your own research comes into play.

Test Everything You Do

Every change you make is going to have some kind of an impact on your conversions. Hopefully you’ll see a lift in conversions, but it’s possible for a change to cause them to drop.

That’s why testing is so important. There are two ways to test the work you’re doing.

A/B testing lets you pit two elements against each other so you can test one or two updates, such as a headline or call to action. Once you have a winner, you can test again or move on to another element.

Multivariate testing lets you evaluate a larger number of changes across your page at the same time, helping you find the best combination. It’s more complex to do, and many marketers prefer A/B testing over this method, but it can get you through testing a lot of changes more quickly.

If you’re getting low conversion rates, you don’t need to scrub it and start over. Make small, strategic changes to your copy and calls to action, and monitor your performance using the recommendations above. With the right approach, you should begin seeing substantial lifts in your conversion rates.

What kind of changes tend to bring you the best results with your landing pages? Share your success with me in the comments.

About the Author: Aaron Agius is an experienced search, content and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world’s largest and most recognized brands to build their online presence. See more from Aaron at Louder Online, their Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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With so many newsletters and blog updates available, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the information available. This can easily lead to a condition known as paralysis of analysis. You have so much information; you don’t know where to begin and nothing gets accomplished.

Explode Your Traffics and Profits Using Newsletters | SEJ

 

Deciding which newsletters are the “best” is admittedly subjective. I started with my own inbox, and then posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Quora asking for ideas. My goal was to come up with a list of useful newsletters and blog updates that consistently offer actionable recommendations. I have no affiliation with any of these newsletters, beyond being a subscriber.

While Google may use over 200 factors in determining organic rankings, there is no doubt that three areas carry the most weight:

  • Website architecture: Your site must be easy to crawl, mobile friendly and offer a good user experience
  • Content: Having the right mix of text and visual media can have a profound impact on rankings, traffic and conversions.
  • Backlinks: Links are still the fuel that powers SERPs and ultimately traffic and conversions.

You should also have a plan in place for driving traffic that doesn’t rely on Google or their finicky search algorithms. Despite the sexy nature of social media and all of the press it gets, there is a significantly more effective way to acquire customers:

  • Email: used daily by 91% of all consumers, it is nearly forty times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined, according to McKinsey & Co

Google does a nice job explaining how crawling and indexing works. If there’s a problem, they even provide a crawl error report to make it easier to address any issues. Beyond that, it becomes a matter of using web analytics to optimize page performance. Some of the top newsletters that focus on this include:

Teaches readers how to use analytics and testing to track, analyze and optimize digital marketing efforts.  Technically not a newsletter, but an email update, which is sent when new content is published on the blog.

Provides actionable insights for improving landing page performance and conversion rates.  This is accomplished by developing, then measuring the results of A/B testing. You have the option to receive email updates daily or weekly.

This newsletter by Avinash Kaushik is focused on analytics-driven marketing. Even if you don’t sign up for his newsletter, do yourself a favor and add what I consider to be the best five Google custom Analytics reports ever shared, to your own Google Analytics account.

With the introduction of the Panda algorithm, followed up by Hummingbird, then Rankbrain, Google has made it very clear that quality matters when it comes to content.  The question then becomes “What is “Good Content.” Back in 2011, Matt Cutts, emphasized “Just because somebody dots every i and crosses every t and gets all their HTML structure right, doesn’t mean that it’s good content.” That’s just as true today, as it was five years ago. The following newsletters can help to guide you in developing the kind of content that both Google and readers want to consume:

Neil Patel’s blog is well-known for producing copious amounts of high-quality content. This guy truly practices what he preaches and has achieved a high level of success as a result. If you want to learn and observe how to do content marketing the right way, sign up for his email alerts.

This group was promoting content marketing long before it was “cool” or even popular. Successful content marketing requires a comprehensive content strategy. Sign up for this newsletter, delivered every Saturday, to discover how to develop the right strategy for your business.

Updates are centered on teaching individuals how to create content that is valuable, attracts attention and drives traffic. As they point out “We Don’t Just Teach Content Marketing — It’s How We Built Our Company. Copyblogger consistently delivers original, relevant data about what’s working today in content marketing.

If you have any doubts about the continued importance of backlinks, then you aren’t paying attention. The mere existence of the Penguin algorithm telegraphs how important it is to Google to thwart link schemes designed to manipulate search rankings. The “blackhat SEO” scene is rife with discussions about using Private Blog Networks for backlinks. The most common manual penalties are related to link spam.  With all of the noise and misinformation surrounding backlinks, it is good to know there are some people who truly understand the nuances of link building in 2016. These newsletters will explain how to build links today that will have relevance and value for the long-term:

Author Roger Monti, aka Martinibuster, actually pays attention to Google patents and announcements.  Based on his understanding of these writings, he regularly develops theses regarding best link building practices. His newsletter features advice on link strategies, an analysis of link trends and full details regarding execution.

“LinkMoses Private” is a link building newsletter authored by link building expert Eric Ward. In addition to providing link strategies, tactics, and case studies, Eric also discloses high-value Link Opportunities in each issue. Understanding how often the Google algo changes, Eric offers linking and promotion techniques that diversify your traffic sources beyond just organic search.

In addition to the specialty newsletters, there are several “general” marketing newsletters that cover all of the above and more. Among those worth a look are:

With Google as an investor and a goal of being top dog in the online marketing space, this company commands attention. Topics include analytics, blogging, email marketing, lead generation, lead management, social media, SEO and more. Hubspot boasts a community of 300,000+ marketers and business owners.

The American Marketing Association was recognized as a leader in the field of marketing long before e-commerce even existed. This organization offers a series of newsletters, ranging from general marketing to industry-specific updates, career advice, thought leadership, marketing research, Big Data, and analytics. You need not be an AMA member to subscribe.

Inbound.org is an online marketing community billed as a place to discuss & share what’s trending in the marketing world. Any topic related to online marketing is covered here. The daily update is a compilation of popular posts.

A weekly newsletter published by Rae Hoffman, aka sugarrae. Rae prides herself on distributing actionable information that can lead to success online. In addition to the “normal” SEO topics, she offers insights into affiliate marketing and money blogging, as well.

Speaking of affiliate marketing, many of the big names in that space make bank exclusively from their email lists. Due to the volatility of the search algorithms, supplementing your web traffic is no longer optional to ensure success over the long haul. If you don’t have a plan in place to grow your email list, I strongly encourage you to subscribe to:

A monthly newsletter featuring email marketing articles curated by the Litmus Team. Topics range from design, to coding to user behavior and more. Places an emphasis on testing and measuring to achieve optimal results.

Sends email alerts covering topics ranging from How to Create an Email Campaign, coming up with Email Newsletter Topics, Email Design Inspiration, how to Use email to Grow Your Brand. Some topics are Mailchimp specific, however most can be applied to email campaigns in general.

Offers updates filled with email marketing tips and best practices. Focuses on topics like how to Grow Your Email List, how to integrate email with social media, how to Test Your Emails Before Hitting ‘Send’, and more. Despite their proprietary platform, most of these AWeber tips are universal and can be used to enhance any email campaign.

 

If you subscribe to and implement the suggestions offered by just a few of these newsletters, your online success is all but guaranteed. There is certainly room for debate as to who deserves to be on the list. What must-read newsletters are on yours?

 

*Denotes paid subscription required.

 

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Staying_on_Top_of_Industry_News__Trends.jpg

As marketers, we all face the same challenge: how do we stay on top of the news and trends that matter to our industry?

Our inboxes are overflowing. Our Twitter feeds never stop scrolling. Our bookmarks folder is stuffed to capacity. And yet, more than ever, our clients and coworkers depend on us to bring order to the chaos.

The more informed we are, the more invaluable and influential we become — always ready with the statistic that makes the deck, the perfect quote from an industry insider, or a genius idea for a new partnership.

The good news? You don’t have to possess some kind of superpower to stay on top of it all. A well-organized system can help you rise to the challenge, and it’s a system anyone can implement with a little help from IFTTT: a handy tool that empowers you to make connections between services and devices you already use (and can help you discover new ones).

These services are called Channels (think: Facebook, Evernote, Gmail, etc.) and users can connect them with simple and powerful “if this, then that” statements called Recipes. Recipes can save you time, automate your life, and, yes, keep you informed and up-to-date on everything you need to know.

To help you get started, we pulled together 35 Recipes organized along five themes. Pick and choose the ones that matter most to you to create a custom system that’ll keep you informed and influential, automatically.

How to Stay on Top of Industry News & Trends: 35 Simple IFTTT Hacks to Try

Catch up on news in one place, at a time that’s convenient for you with these Recipes …

Unfortunately, the number of browser tabs you have open doesn’t correlate to how well you understand your industry. In fact, it can make it hard to actually get work done. Then, instead of finding and reading everything you saw in various places during the day, you’re stuck finishing the tasks you should have done at work.

Find your focus with these Recipes: they’ll help you quickly save interesting articles and content you come across during your day, and send them all to the service of your choice. All the news you need, in one place, ready when you are.

1) Take the first link from any tweets you Like and save it to your Pocket account.

IFTTT Recipe: When you like a Tweet, automatically save the link from it to your Pocket account connects twitter to pocket

2) Send pages from Instapaper to your Kindle via Gmail by moving them to a specific folder.

IFTTT Recipe: When you move an article into a specific Instapaper folder, send it to your Kindle connects instapaper to gmail

3) Create a note in Evernote whenever you save a post in Reddit.

IFTTT Recipe: Create a note in Evernote whenever you save a post on Reddit connects reddit to evernote

4) Save an article for later in Feedly to automatically save it in Pocket.

IFTTT Recipe: When you save an article for later in Feedly automatically save it in Pocket  connects feedly to pocket

5) Star an email in Gmail to automatically save it in an Evernote notebook.

IFTTT Recipe: When you star an email in Gmail it will automatically save in an Evernote notebook connects gmail to evernote

6) Add an article to your Pocket queue to automatically post the title and URL to a Slack channel.

IFTTT Recipe: When you add an article to Pocket automatically save it to a Slack channel connects pocket to slack

If that’s still too many steps, there are also Recipes that’ll curate a “Read later” list for you based on the topics and mediums you choose. No clicking required: just log in at the end of the day to see what’s been collected.

Think of these as a way to go beyond the Google alert and stay on top of the sources and topics that matter most to your industry.

7) Moves the top posts from r/worldnews to your Pocket account.

IFTTT Recipe: Read top posts from /r/worldnews on Pocket connects reddit to pocket

Pro tip: Hit “Advanced settings" to put in whatever subreddit you’d like to monitor.

8) Get a daily email update with the top posts from your favorite Reddit subreddit.

IFTTT Recipe: Get a daily email update with the top posts from your favorite Reddit subreddit connects reddit to email-digest

9) Save the day’s most Dugg story from Digg to your Instapaper.

IFTTT Recipe: Automatically save the day's most Dugg story from Digg to your Instapaper connects digg to instapaper

10) Get an email whenever Digg publishes a new story featuring a specific keyword.

IFTTT Recipe: Get an email whenever Digg publishes a new story featuring a specific keyword connects digg to email

11) Save stories from a specific section of Time to read later on Pocket.

IFTTT Recipe: Save stories from a specific section of Time to read later on Pocket  connects time to pocket

12) Get an email digest of the week’s most popular Business Day articles from The New York Times.

IFTTT Recipe: Get an email digest of the week's most popular Business Day articles from the New York Times connects the-new-york-times to email-digest

Tap the global water cooler to stay on top of cultural trends and insights with these Recipes …

You may roll your eyes when you hear about “The Dress” or “Chewbacca mom,” but the fact is that these online sensations become cultural touchpoints.

Today’s viral moment is tomorrow’s brand strategy, marketing idea, sponsorship, or even just a dinner conversation with an important client. These Recipes will help you set up alerts so that breaking news and trends come straight to you as they gain momentum.

13) Get an email from The New York Times whenever there is breaking technology news.

IFTTT Recipe: Get an email from the New York Times whenever there is breaking technology news connects the-new-york-times to email

Pro tip: Technology not your thing? Hit "Advanced settings" to change which section of the newspaper you want alerts from.

14) Get an email when content gets more than 1K shares an hour on social media from Time.com.

IFTTT Recipe: Get an email whenever an article goes viral on Time.com connects time to email

15) Get an email with the most Dugg video on Digg every day.

IFTTT Recipe: Get an email with the most Dugg video on Digg every day  connects digg to email

16) Get a daily email digest with the top headlines from NPR.

IFTTT Recipe: Get a daily email digest with the top headlines from NPR connects npr to email-digest

And of course, because nothing on the internet counts until it’s a GIF, there’s a Recipe for staying on top of those, too:

17) Get a daily email with the GIFs that are trending on Giphy.

IFTTT Recipe: Get a daily email with the GIFs that are trending on Giphy connects giphy to email-digest

Keep your team up to date with these Recipes …

Chances are, you’re not the only one who could benefit from a steady stream of curated info. Connect different services to communication tools, such as Slack, to keep your coworkers and collaborators as in-the-know as you are. Setting up Recipes like these is a simple way to show your value as a knowledge worker and make yourself indispensable to your team.

18) Share popular articles from The New York Times with your LinkedIn followers.

IFTTT Recipe: Share popular articles from the NYTimes with your LinkedIn followers connects the-new-york-times to linkedin

19) Send live updates from Twitter to a Slack channel.

IFTTT Recipe: Send live updates from Twitter to a Slack channel  connects twitter to slack

20) Send an article to a Slack channel when you tag it with a specific tag in Pocket.

IFTTT Recipe: Automatically send an article to a Slack channel when you tag it with a specific tag in Pocket connects pocket to slack

21) Post your Feedly ‘save for later’ articles to a Slack channel.

IFTTT Recipe: Automatically post your Feedly save for later articles to a Slack channel  connects feedly to slack

22) Post Instapaper articles to a Slack channel once they’re moved into a folder.

IFTTT Recipe: Post instapaper articles to slack channel once moved to a folder. connects instapaper to slack

Find influencers and keep an eye on the competition by tracking Twitter with these Recipes …

Half the battle is finding the right sources. With so much noise out there, how do you keep track of who’s talking about your industry in a meaningful way? Especially when so much of the chatter happens in real time, on social media. These Recipes can help you create groups you can easily monitor and siphon off relevant searches into other services where you can organize and interpret them at your leisure.

23) Add users to a Twitter list when they use a specific hashtag.

IFTTT Recipe: Add users to a Twitter list when they use a specific hashtag connects twitter to twitter

24) Add the user to a Twitter list when you Like a tweet.

IFTTT Recipe: When you like a Tweet add the user to a Twitter list connects twitter to twitter

25) Add a tweet to a Google spreadsheet when it contains a specific hashtag.

IFTTT Recipe: When a specific hashtag is used on Twitter add the Tweet to a Google spreadsheet connects twitter to google-drive

26) Get an email whenever a specific user tweets.

IFTTT Recipe: Get an email whenever a specific user Tweets connects twitter to gmail

Pro tip: You can email up to five email accounts with a Recipe like this.

27) Create a search on Twitter and get a daily email with the results.

IFTTT Recipe: Create a search on Twitter and get a daily email with the results connects twitter to email-digest

Pro tip: Hit “advanced settings” to change the search term.

28) Add users to a Twitter list when they tweet in a specific area.

IFTTT Recipe: If someone Tweets in a specific area, add them to a Twitter list connects twitter to twitter

Share your informed POV with your social networks with these Recipes …

Now that you’re on top of everything, you can start to build a reputation as an informed thought leader. Curate a steady stream of articles and insights that you’ve given the stamp of approval across your social media. It’ll help you build your online influence.

29) Automatically tweet your Diggs.

IFTTT Recipe: Automatically Tweet your diggs connects digg to twitter

30) Automatically tweet articles when you tag them with a specific tag in Feedly.

IFTTT Recipe: Automatically Tweet articles when you tag them with a specific tag in Feedly  connects feedly to twitter

31) Post your Pocket favorites to Facebook.

IFTTT Recipe: Post your Pocket favorites to Facebook connects pocket to facebook

32) Automatically share articles you tag in Pocket with a specific tag with your LinkedIn followers.

IFTTT Recipe: Automatically share articles you tag in Pocket with a specific tag with your LinkedIn followers  connects pocket to linkedin

33) Automatically share articles with your LinkedIn network when you give them a specific tag in Feedly.

IFTTT Recipe: Automatically share articles with your LinkedIn network when you give them a specific tag in Feedly connects feedly to linkedin

34) Add a specific hashtag to a tweet to automatically post it as a LinkedIn status update.

IFTTT Recipe: When you Tweet with a specific hashtag the Tweets will be posted as LinkedIn status updates connects twitter to linkedin

(This is a great solution if you don’t want everything you tweet added to your LinkedIn profile.)

35) Automatically share an Inoreader article on your LinkedIn by broadcasting it.

IFTTT Recipe: When you broadcast an article via Inoreader it will automatically be shared on your LinkedIn connects inoreader to linkedin

Interested in exploring more Recipes? IFTTT’s collection for marketers is the perfect next step. Learn how to seamlessly cross-post, organize files, manage tasks and campaigns, and much more.

What are your best tips and tricks for staying on top of industry trends? Share them in the comments.

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