Posts Tagged ‘b2b marketing zone’
Shareaholic, a content discovery and sharing tools vendor, yesterday announced Shareaholic Channels, a new way to find the most relevant, fresh content based on topic. Of the more than 200,000 publishers who use Shareaholic tools (such as social sharing buttons at the bottom of this post), the company selected the top 25 bloggers in each of the following seven categories to feature:
- • Food
- • Parenting
- • Fitness
- • Fashion & Beauty
- • DIY
- • Social Media Marketing
- • Personal Finance
Who is Shareaholic? According to the company’s website:
“Founded in 2008, Shareaholic has quickly grown from a ‘nights and weekends’ project to a fast-growing VC backed company that today is the leader in making content discovery & sharing on the web a simple, delightful and elegant experience for readers while providing powerful tools to content publishers to measure, analyze and improve the effectiveness of their content to drive even more visibility, traffic, leads and views.
Through web browser extensions, open platform APIs, and one of the largest and fastest growing networks of content publishers, Shareaholic reaches over 270 million people across every continent each month. Or put another way, if Shareaholic was a country, it’d be the 4th largest country in the world.”
The company’s products include tools for browsers, websites (including WordPress plugins), analytics and developers. It’s been featured in publications including TechCrunch, Mashable, ClickZ, Search Engine Land and Fast Company.”
We’re honored that Shareaholic chose to include Webbiquity among its top 25 sources for the Social Media Marketing channel, along with an impressive list of bloggers including Peg Fitzpatrick, Jayme Soulati, Mari (“rhymes with Ferrari”) Smith, Shelly Kramer, Dan Zarella, Janet Aronica, Pam Sahota and Darren Herman.
Since its inception, the B2B Marketing Zone has been the one place to catch up on all the latest posts from the leading B2B bloggers, writers like Brian Carroll, Chris Abraham, Ambal Balakrishnan, Ardath Albee and many more. Over time, the site has evolved and added new features to enhance its value to readers.
The latest addition: Aggregage, the platform that powers the B2B Marketing Zone (or BMZ) has added a robust personalization engine. Readers can now sign-up and have content from the site personalized based on their interests.
To check it out, sign-up using the “Personalize Your Content” button at the top right of the BMZ home page, as shown here.
The BMZ always features great, fresh content from the leading B2B bloggers. The home page is updated daily, plus it’s easy to search posts by blog, topic category, date, company mentions and more.
Now, personalization makes it even better. Curators find the best sources of content. The BMZ then uses social signals from sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and delicious as well as clicks and views. The algorithm that determines what makes it to top of the front page of the site looks at attributes like average values for the source , who is providing the signal, reputation and influence, and other factors.
What’s changed is that now the BMZ enables you to sign up and provide your Twitter and LinkedIn info. The personalization engine will then examine your activity on these sites and what kind of content you share. It uses that data to evaluate your interests as well as to cluster you with other like-minded readers based on interests and sharing. You can further control your interests via the Subscription page.
The personalization engine “learns” about you over time and combines three pieces of information to predict what will be most interesting to you:
- • Social signal score – are other readers finding this content interesting?
- • Topic match – does the subject match your interests?
- • Like sharing – are other individuals similar to you sharing this content?
The engine then uses these signals to both personalize the ranking of posts on the site when you log in, and to produce customized Daily and Weekly newsletters for you.
The goal of the BMZ has always been to make sure readers don’t miss the best and latest content from the leading thinkers and writers in the world of B2B marketing and sales. Now, with personalization, there’s even less chance that you’ll miss a post that is really important—based on what it is exactly that’s important to YOU.
Many of the same principles apply to optimizing a blog for search as for optimizing a business website: use keywords in the body copy, post titles, subheadings, permalink URL, image alt tags and meta tags. But a blog also presents additional opportunities for search optimization beyond those that apply to standard websites (which is why Google loves blogs). Take advantage of these six techniques to help get your blog ranked highly in relevant searches, and increase your overall web presence.
1. Categories: For the sake of user-friendly site navigation, standard websites usually have a fairly small number (generally no more than six or seven) top-level sections. Furthermore, some of these are virtually worthless for search (e.g. investor pages, and “Contact Us” is almost always a top-level link even though this page has no search value).
But with a blog, you can create any (reasonable) number of top-level categories, and give these keyword-rich labels. For that reason, think about your blog categories carefully: create category tags that will be meaningful and useful to both human readers and search engine spiders.
2. Fresh content. Most B2B website content (other than items like news releases and upcoming events) and much B2C content as well is fairly static; once it’s written, it tends to stay pretty much intact for the life of the website. But Google’s recent algorithm changes (which Bing and other search engines will most likely try to mimic) favor fresh content, as least for certain types of searches. Authority still matters, but freshness is now a much more important ranking factor than it was in the past.
Blogs are one of the best mechanisms for publishing a steady stream of new content. They are also a great platform for responding to breaking news or the latest developments in your industry. So while an editorial calendar can help your blog posts on track and on schedule, it’s crucial to also build in the flexibility to write posts responding to current events in your industry. This both increases the relevance of your blog and takes advantage of new-to-the-world search phrases that won’t show up in keyword tools.
3. Syndication and blog directories. Content syndication and blog directory sites provide valuable backlinks as well as driving traffic directly to your blog. Technorati and AllTop are two of the general-topic blog directories. Nearly every industry has its own specific directories and syndication sites as well; for example, B2B Marketing Zone for B2B vendor and influencer blogs, and Social Media Informer for social media-related blogs. In addition, there are hundreds of smaller blog directories and RSS submission sites that can further increase the reach and visibility of your blog.
4. Social media. Sharing your content on social networking sites like Twitter and (most importantly) Google+ as well as social bookmarking sites creates links to your blog. More important, however, is that Google tracks social signals (the overall level of content sharing for your blog as well as the authority of those sharing it) as measures of the quality and authority of a blog. So while sharing your own content provides some SEO benefit, building and nurturing a network of authoritative people in your industry and producing content they want to share is even more valuable.
Add social media buttons to your blog to encourage readers to share your content. Tools like ShareThis, AddThis and Wibiya, or WordPress plugins like SexyBookmarks, make it easy to add buttons for any of the most popular social networks and bookmarking sites. Of course you can add these sharing buttons to a standard company website as well, but readers are far more likely to share useful blog content than ordinary vendor web pages; while 60% of all social postings link to published content (news sites or blogs), just 4% link to corporate website content.
You can also build high-authority backlinks through commenting on other blogs as well as writing guest posts (with embedded text links) for other industry blogs. Again, you could use these techniques without having your own blog, but many bloggers are more likely to consider publishing a guest post from a fellow blogger (whose writing they can easily evaluate) than from an unknown corporate or agency contact.
5. Clean code. Google and many other search engines reward sites that have fast loading time, use the latest best practices in web coding and are W3C-compliant with higher rankings. If all of that sounds a bit technical, don’t worry; most of the leading blog platforms automatically create fairly clean, compliant code. Free blog platforms like TypePad and WordPress produce clean code out of the box. Fee-based platforms like Compendium and HubSpot are also search-friendly.
6. WordPress plugins. WordPress blogs can easily be made even more search engine-friendly through the use of a few key plugins. You can find lots of posts about the best SEO plugins for WordPress, but a few of the absolutely key plugins are:
- • All in One SEO Pack. Among it’s other features, this plugin makes it easy to add meta title tags and automatically create search-friendly URLs for each post.
- • W3 Total Cache. This plugin uses caching and other techniques to dramatically increase the load speed of your blog and improve the user experience.
- • Google XML Sitemaps with qTranslate Support. Sitemaps help the search engines more fully and accurately index a website or blog. For a relatively static business website, it’s easy to create an XML sitemap using an online tool then submit it to the major search engines. For a blog, which is constantly changing, using a manual process would be virtually impossible. Fortunately, this plugin creates an XML sitemap of your WordPress blog in a format supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN Search (Bing) and Yahoo, and automatically keeps it up to date as you write new posts, add categories, and make other changes to your blog.
- • WP Google Analytics. Google Analytics provides a wealth of information to help with SEO efforts, such as which keywords and referral sites are driving the most traffic and which landing pages draw the most search traffic. This plugin makes it a snap to add the Google Analytics tracking code to all of your blog pages and posts, and automatically include the code on new posts.
- • Sexy Bookmarks. The Sexy Bookmarks plugin adds a configurable set of social networking and social bookmarking buttons to each of your blog posts, making it easy for your readers to share your content on their site(s) of choice. Sharing provides useful social signals to the search engines about the authority of your content and creates valuable backlinks.
- • Do Follow. By default, WordPress applies the insidious nofollow tag to outbound links from your blog. This is done ostensibly to prevent your blog from passing authority to sketchy sites through comment and backlink spam. However, if you are moderating comments to your blog, those kinds of links shouldn’t be an issue. Do-follow outbound links to high-quality, relevant websites actually help with SEO as well as increasing reader satisfaction, generating more comments, and helping with relationship building.
Once you’ve developed and optimized an effective business website and launched a properly optimized business blog, the core of your web presence optimization framework is in place. Now you’re ready to take the next steps to expand that presence and work toward dominating in the search engines for your core terms.
Every blogger wants more traffic. How to get it? The key is a balanced strategy of search engine optimization (SEO), social media, syndication and guest posting.
So where does blog traffic come from, and how does this change over time? Looking at data from the Webbiquity blog, several trends are apparent. This B2B blog isn’t necessarily representative of all blogs of course, but the trends likely aren’t much different for many business blogs. What’s important here isn’t the specific results from this blog, but what those results say about how to get more traffic to your blog.
Six conclusions that can be drawn from this graph:
It takes time to build a blog audience. Don’t expect miracles right out of the gate, or get discouraged by low blog traffic at first. Patience is a virtue, and persistence is rewarded. Even those early posts may draw significant traffic over time as your blog gains traction.
Direct and referral traffic are highly correlated. It’s striking in the graph above how the lines for direct and referral traffic remain nearly parallel over time. But it makes sense: the more often your blog is “seen” on other sites, the more people will bookmark it, subscribe to your RSS feed, and type in the URL directly.
SEO doesn’t produce immediate results, but is crucial over the long term. Just as it takes time to build a following, it also takes a while to build credibility and authority with the search engines. Note from the graph that search was the lowest source of traffic to this blog for its first three months, and for six of the first nine months. But it’s been the top source of visits for nine of the past 10 months (the only exception resulting from the spike in direct and referral traffic to the Nifty 50 Top Women of Twitter post). And even with the falloff in direct and referral traffic over the last two months (more about that in a moment), search traffic has held up fairly well.
A closer look at Google stats (see below) reveals an even more remarkable point about search: while direct and referral traffic tend to be “spiky” based on the popularity of individual posts, search traffic is more consistent over time.
Social media is important. Of the top dozen sources of traffic, four were social networking or related sites: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and HootSuite. Twitter is the most productive, driving more than half of all non-blog social media visits. Including blogs, more than one of every seven visits came through social media (blogs, social networking, social bookmarking, or tools like HootSuite and bit.ly) sites.
Syndication is also helpful. Three of the top 12 traffic sources for this blog were syndication or content aggregation sites: B2B Marketing Zone, Social Media Informer and Social Media Today. The best syndication sites will vary by industry, so choose sites appropriate for your blog subject manner. Don’t overlook smaller blog directories and RSS syndication sites that can collectively drive notable traffic (as well as providing valuable links for SEO purposes).
Digging deeper into the Google Analytics results and correcting errors (such as GA sometimes mislabeling search visits as referral traffic) yields a more detailed picture. Search is the top source of traffic for most blogs over time. But search is affected by every link, so a multi-faceted approach is critical. For example, links from other blogs may provide only modest direct traffic, but they influence search engines and other social media sources, as well as increasing direct traffic.
Post frequency matters. Back to that dropoff over the past two months—in a way, this blog is a victim of its own success. Because I’ve obtained several wonderful and active clients through my blogging, I’ve had less time to write posts over the past 60-90 days, and the resulting dip in direct and referral traffic is readily apparent in the first graph above. But for corporate blogs, the lesson is clear: maintaining consistent post frequency is crucial to maintaining high blog traffic and continuous growth.
A substantial share of “Other Referring Sites” traffic to this blog comes from WebMarketCentral, the website marketing resources portal. The lesson for companies is to feature your blog prominently on your corporate website, as that can be a rich source of visits.
All in all, your specific results will vary, but again the key to getting more traffic to your blog is a balanced approach of activities including search engine optimization (SEO), social networking, social bookmarking, syndication, blog commenting and guest posting. And of course writing compelling content for your audience.
Several great new features were recently added to the B2B Marketing Zone and Social Media Informer by co-founder Tony Karrer. One of the most obvious is that posts now include images, making the sites more visually appealing than the former text-only design.
Both of these sites bring together content from leading experts and companies like Brian Carroll, Paul Dunay, Ambal Balakrishnan, Harry Hoover, Gini Dietrich–really too many to list. You can find a long list of the Featured sources on the right side. There is a lot more content that comes in as well beyond the Featured sources.
The home page itself will show you the latest and best content at any time. For example as I’m writing this, I see a few great posts right up top:
- • 3 Questions To Ask About The Qualified Lead You Just Received…
- • Do B2B Editors Get Twitter?
- • The evolution of social media power and influence
Best is decided by the system based on social signals – that’s clicks, views, twitter, delicious, and other kinds of inputs that tell us what people are doing with the content. And the goal of both sites is to make sure that great content from lesser known sources still makes it to the top.
Each day, week, month and year, each site generates a “Best Of” Edition. You can change the Edition at any time. That allows you to see some really great stuff beyond what you typically see on the home page. For example, included in the July 25th edition on Social Media Informer are these posts (among others):
- • How Small Businesses Can Use LinkedIn to Grow
- • Fifteen Incredible Mobile Statistics
- • Web Presence Optimization, Reloaded
Posts on both sites are categorized by subject. Topics on B2B Marketing Zone include social media, inbound marketing and business blogging. Social Media Informer covers topics such as social networking, small business and brand monitoring.
The intent of the sites is to aggregate and make it easy to find great content. You’ll see only see a snippet of each post. When you click the link, you will be directed back to the source. In other words, we curate the content, but don’t own it. You can still comment and interact with the content on the original site.
Visiting these sites is a great way to find fresh content, but you can also subscribe to newsletter digests on both sites.
This is a quick overview of the new features on these sites. Tony and I look forward to continuing to improve them. If you have thoughts, or comments, please feel free to contact Tony Karrer via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.