Posts Tagged ‘Kristi Hines’

48 Phenomenal SEO Guides, Tips & Tactics

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

As Geddy Lee of Rush sang in the band’s 1981 hit Tom Sawyer, “changes aren’t permanent. But change is.”

While he wasn’t referring to SEO (which wouldn’t really exist for another 16 years), the lyrics certainly apply.

2015 SEO ranking factors

Image credit: Stone Temple Consulting

Search engine algorithms are constantly being updated. SEO practices which may be very effective one day are useless the next,  and then actually invite penalties, before being once again ignored.

So what’s an SEO professional to do? Which tactics are most likely to stand the test of time–and which should be avoided? What needs to be done to recover from search engine penalties? What’s most important–on-page optimization, link building, or technical SEO? What are the current best practices (and which aren’t worth spending time on) in each area?

Find the answers to those questions and many more here in four dozen phenomenal SEO guides, tips and tricks from the past year.

Guides to SEO for Beginners

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Buffer
***** 5 STARS

Courtney SeiterBefore you turn up your nose at yet another beginner’s guide to SEO, check this one out. The practice of SEO has (of course) changed considerably over the past few years, and Courtney Seiter recognizes those changes in this noteworthy guide explaining what exactly SEO is today, how search engines rank content, and what SEO professionals do now to optimize websites for search.

SEO for Dummies: Learn SEO in 10 Simple Steps by Social Media Today

Brian HughesSEO isn’t easy, but according to Brian Hughes, it is simple. He walks through 10 basic steps for site optimization here, from getting the foundation right and doing keyword research through on-page content, meta tags, and link building (“Focus on link building through content marketing, blog writing, guest blogging, infographics, site directories (CAREFULLY), and other tools that allow you to leave online footprints leading back to your site”).

Infographic: Search Ranking Made Simple by Sword and the Script

Frank StrongFrank Strong showcases an infographic from Neil Patel that provides a simple, widely accepted explanation of how Google’s search algorithm (probably) works, including the importance of keyword domains, image optimization, domain age, social shares, title tags, keyword repetition, content length, and other factors.

15 Step SEO Checklist for 2015 by Social Media Today

Jason ParksJason Parks serves up solid advice “to ensure that you are well prepared for 2015” in SEO terms. Among his 15 steps are title tags, on-page content (keywords used naturally, not stuffed), video, site audits, and otpimized photos (“use alt tags to help describe your image. Google image search only gets a half a percent of Google’s overall traffic. But due to blended search results, images actually get a lot more traffic than that half a percent”).

Expert SEO Guides, Tips and Tricks

Facebook’s VP of Growth Gives You Tips on Growing Your Product by KISSmetrics

Alex SchultzAlex Schultz, the VP of Growth at Facebook (and formerly marketing manager at eBay) “has no educational background in marketing, instead opting to get his masters in physics at University of Cambridge.” In this fascinating post, he shares strategies for growing website traffic, the importance of customer retention, finding your “north star metrics,” and SEO (“the single most important thing is to get valuable links from authoritative sites. Then you need to internally link effectively”) among other topics.

How Long Does SEO Take To Start Working? by Forbes

Joshua SteimleJoshua Steimle writes that the answer to the tragically common question “How long will it take me to get ranked #1 for my keywords?” is not simple, “because the question itself is misguided.” SEO has changed, with searchers now making much greater use of longer phrase and natural language search (driven in part by the use of Siri and other voice-based tools). He goes on to state that it takes roughly four to six months for SEO efforts to start showing results, but to “bear in mind this is when you start seeing results, and SEO results grow over time.”

18 Online Marketing Priorities for 2015: Advice and Predictions for the Year Ahead by RKG Blog

Lauren PolinskyLauren Polinsky summarizes “the most important and interesting issues” which may face SEO professionals in 2015 and beyond, from multichannel reporting, local search, and mobile optimization, through monitoring brand citations (“brands will want to work on building more citations, linked or unlinked, from authoritative websites”).

The SEO “Food” Pyramid by The Elumynt of William Harris

William HarrisCreatively using the traditional “food pyramid” as a metaphor for SEO, William Harris places architecture (proper coding, optimized page titles, correct use of headers, an XML sitemap, etc.) at the base, with a healthy SEo program layering on smaller portions of content creation, promotion, UX, and social signals–topped off with (careful) link building.

Content Quality Score: Google’s Best Kept Secret For Rankings by Mace Dynamics
**** 4 STARS (would be five if not for the popups)

Terence MaceContending that “Every page indexed by Google has a content quality score assigned to it. This score directly influences how well a page ranks in Google. This however is not promoted by Google and few webmasters or SEOs are even aware of it,” Terence Mace supplies an in-depth post covering quality signals, page purpose, “Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages…(which) are pages that can impact a person’s future happiness, health or wealth,” quality factors, EAT (expertise-authority-trust), and much more.

How To Use SEO To Boost Your Brand’s YouTube Channel by MediaPost

Jeremy WalkerWriting that “YouTube, the second most-searched site with one billion monthly unique users, delivers a massive potential impact for SEO to drive visitors to a brand’s video channel,” Jeremy Walker shows how to optimize your YouTube channel to maximize your brand exposure on the site, from video element optimization (title, description, locations, etc.) through integrating your YouTube channel with your Google+ account.

5 Keys to Improving Search Rankings with Duane Forrester of Bing by Stone Temple Consulting

Eric EngeEric Enge talks to Bing’s Duane Forrester about the keys to improving SEO rank on Bing. Link building is somewhat surprisingly at #4 of Forrester’s five top areas. Content remains number one, though he warns, “The reality is that it’s not up to you to decide if (your site has) quality content. The quality is determined by the interaction of the visitor to your website. If they’re interacting with it, if they’re finding value in it, then there’s quality to it.”

7 Things That Will Improve Your SEO More Than SSL by Search Engine Watch

Erin EverhartErin Everhart deconstructs Google’s announcement late last summer than SSL may impact organic search rankings. She concludes that while SSL may indeed play a small role in SEO success, many other factors carry far more weight; she details seven of those here, including consistent URLs (“the link you use in your internal linking strategy, and the links you use in your XML Sitemap need to match”), relevant content, and CTA-friendly title tags (include “action words — Shop, Buy, Apply, etc — in…title tags”).

SEO: Link Building, Keyword Research Becoming Most Challenging Tactics by MediaPost

Laurie SullivanLaurie Sullivan reports that enterprise marketers generally view SEO as critical to achieving their ojectives, but also challenging to be successful with. Among the specific research findings here are the top SEO challenges businesses face: “41% find link building one of the more difficult strategies, and 39% call out keyword research management as a close second. Some 33% admit that quality content creation proves challenging, followed by 30% for social media integration; 28%, frequent blogging; 26%, frequent Web site updates; 22%, mobile search optimization; and 13%, local search optimization.”

SEO Tutorial. The ultimate SEO 2.0 guide by Seolution
***** 5 STARS

Albert MoraAlbert Mora compiles one of the most valuable and comprehensive guides available for SEO in 2015. One warning though – at nearly 6,000 words (plus a lot of pictures), this is no quick read, not a post to skim. It’s one to bookmark as a vital reference. Not every resource or tactic cited is appropriate in all situations. It’s also a lot of work–but then, successful SEO always is.

Illustrated Guide to Advanced On-Page Topic Targeting for SEO by Moz

Cyrus ShepardCyrus Shepard presents “a simple framework for on-page topic targeting in a way that makes optimizing easy and scalable while producing richer content for your audience” in this graphical guide covering keyword research, keyword relationships (position, frequency, distance), internal links, semantic markup, page titles and more.

The Ultimate Guide to Enterprise SEO by SERPs

Enterprise-level SEO–optimizing thousands of pages, often across multiple subdomains and interlinked microsites as well as a mothership site–is different from working on smaller sites. Activities have to scale, there are more people involved, more politics, more planning, etc. This comprehensive guide details the elements of enterprise SEO, the environment, and the unique challenges, as well as providing additional useful references.

Dealing With Onsite Duplicate Content Issues by Search Engine Watch

Navneet KaushalNavneet Kaushal clarifies the causes of on-site (common in ecommerce) and off-site (caused by content syndication, as one example) duplicate content issues, and how to deal with them using tactics like 301 redirects, the “rel=canonical” tag, meta tags, and a consistent internal linking strategy.

Does SEO Boil Down to Site Crawlability and Content Quality? – Whiteboard Friday by Moz

Rand FishkinAsking “Does SEO boil down to making a site easily crawlable and consistently creating good, relevant content?,” Rand Fishkin answers–no. He lists some of the variety of inputs and tactics that go into successful site optimization, noting these are “why SEO is neuropsychology. SEO is conversion rate optimization. SEO is social media. SEO is user experience and design. SEO is branding. SEO is analytics. SEO is product. SEO is advertising. SEO is public relations.” And more.

The Truth about Video SEO by acSellerant Studios

Bob LeonardBob Leonard transcribes his interview with video SEO expert Daniel Loeschen of LT Creative Media on how to search-optimize video content. Among Daniel’s advice: “Videos that are meant to drive traffic to your site should ONLY be hosted on your site. If you want to create a video that is specifically for branding and getting your name in front of people, then YouTube, Vimeo, etc. are great for that…(for on-site video) add the video to the most recent site map of your website and update Google webmaster tools with it.”

10 Clever Strategies Content Marketers Use To Earn Links by Shareaholic

Danny WongDanny Wong forwards tips from the Young Entrepreneur Council on how to get high-quality links through content (other than guest blogging), such as by creating highly sharable content like infographics; developing quizzes and contests; writing controversial content (certainly a strategy to use with caution); and developing blog-based courses using expert interview videos.

7 Hot SEO Tips and Tricks for Blogs by RazorSocial

Ian ClearyIan Cleary passes along seven helpful tips for improving blog rank in search, among them internal link building (“When you write content on your website, find relevant articles that you have already published on your site to link to.  As the value of the new post goes up, the value of the link goes up too”); revisiting older posts that aren’t ranking quite as well as they could; and strategic (not spammy) guest posting.

The Complete Guide to Google Webmaster Tools by Positionly
***** 5 STARS

Kristi HinesKristi Hines delves into “why you need to be using Google Webmaster Tools to monitor the health of your website in Google search and to learn more about your search engine optimization efforts” and how to make the best use of all the site’s capabilities in this highly bookmark-worthy post. The Search Queries section is popular with SEO pros, but not everyone knows that “If you click on a keyword, you’ll be shown which pages rank for that keyword, along with details about those pages.”

My “Meet the Search Engines” SMX West 2014 Takeaways by Sugarrae

Rae HoffmanRae Hoffman collects her live tweets from the “Meet the Search Engines” session at SMX last year, reporting among other interesting tidbits of SEO news a kindler, gentler Panda release from Google; the impending scale-tipping of mobile over desktop searches; Google’s premeditated attack on MyBlogGuest; and that ranking well on Bing is a matter of “content, usability, social signals and link building”–in that order.

How Top Ranking Brands Like Moz and HubSpot REALLY Do SEO by Social Media Today

Chad PolllittNoting how crucial earned links are to SEO success today, Chad Pollitt explains how some high-ranking brands have achieved their search visibility, and outlines a four-step process companies can use to emulate them–essentially a combination of research-driven content creation coupled with social and traditional media promotion, in line with a web presence optimization (WPO) approach.

18 Social Media SEO Resources to Improve Your Search Ranking by Social Media Examiner

Patricia RedsickerPatricia Redsicker explores how social media impacts search and then shares resources that support “best practices for social media SEO,” such as How to Customize Your Social Share Buttons for Increased Traffic, which “walks you through the process of pre-populating social media share buttons for Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Facebook with links to your own website.”

6 Ways to Earn Higher Rankings Without Investing in Content Creation and Marketing – Whiteboard Friday by Moz

Though content marketing is unquestionably valuable for SEO, it’s not by any means the only tool in the box. Here, Rand Fishkin (again) explains “six out of probably 600 ways that you can earn higher rankings without investing in content creation or content marketing,” from using rich snippets and compelling page meta titles to fixing or deleting low SEO-value pages across a website.

What kind of user experience ranking signals does Google take notice of? by Econsultancy

Chris LakeChris Lake provides an outstanding and comprehensive summary of user experience signals that help with search rankings. Most of these are just good UX practice, so the SEO benefit is a bonus. What’s surprising is the sheer number of signals that can affect search rank, from site speed and mobile-friendliness to button size, navigation, broken links, readability, and other factors.

21 Industry Experts Share Their SEO Tips For 2014 by Reginald Chan

Reginald ChanReginald Chan compiles the responses of 21 SEO pros to questions about how SEO is evolving and their favorite techniques. Adam Connell, Brent Carnduff, Eric T Tung, Kristi Hines, Neal Schaffer, and Tad Chef offer observations and tips like “SEO will…become more professional…content has always been at the center of…efforts (but) being an SEO who also masters UX and CRO can be a competitive advantage now.”

How Social Signals Impact Search Engine Rankings by QuickSprout

Neil PatelWriting that “Just because Facebook and Twitter aren’t driving you a ton of sales doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leverage them…both Google and Bing use data from social sites in order to determine how high to rank your website,” Neil Patel presents an infographic showing real-world examples of how social shares impact search results, along with a few tips on how to get more social shares.

How to Audit Your Website for Improved SEO and Conversions by Proven Rankings

Matt GMatt G provides a detailed guide to assessing the content and technical optimization of a website, asking questions like: Is your website optimized for maximum usability? Is it optimized for lead generation and conversions? Does it use responsive design? And are your website URLs optimized?

21 SEO Techniques You Can Use Today to Get More Search Engine Traffic by Backlinko

Brian DeanBrian Dean shares clever techniques for improving search rank by finding broken-link building opportunities on Wikipedia, discovering untapped keywords on Reddit, finding link prospects on Delicious, and 18 other tactics, including using “best of” lists to “find awesome link targets.” Hmm, “best of” lists…wonder where to find those?

11 reasons SEO is a science; 15 reasons it’s an art by BarnRaisers

Rob PetersenRob Petersen lists more than two dozen reasons SEO is both a science (e.g., “Value of the [back]links, whether they are high or low value authority, can be determined by SEO Majestic and Marketing Grader”) and an art (e.g., “Titles that convince people [to click] have clarity, creativity and imagination. The right keywords and key phrases just happen to be in them”).

The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO by Matt Cutts

Matt CuttsIf you somehow missed this—or perhaps blocked it from your mind due to intense mental anguish—here’s the post where Matt Cutts declared that guest-blogging is dead. Except that he really didn’t; he only said that spammy guest-blogging purely for the purpose of generating backlinks is dead. Note this post generated nearly 700 comments. That’s enormous power—whether used for good or evil.

Guest Blogging and SEO: Still a Match Made in Heaven by QuickSprout

Here is Neil Patel (again), this time reacting to Matt’s post above, essentially clarifying what type of behavior he believes Google will actually punish, and how bloggers can still get value from guest-posting (e.g., “Focus on writing high quality content that actually educates the reader”). Fortunately for Neil, Google still doesn’t punish blogs for pop-ups. :-)

The Ultimate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guide by Firepole Marketing

Ahmed SafwanObserving that (as noted above) achieving higher search rank is “simple, but it isn’t easy,” Ahmed Safwan walks through a dozen SEO “sins” to avoid (including lack of proper keyword research, poor site speed, and creating URLs without keywords) along with a nine-step guide to optimizing a blog (or website) for search, from conducting keyword research the right way through ongoing measurement and adjustments.

SEO Checklist: 60 essential checks before launching a website by Web SEO Analytics
***** 5 STARS

Vasilis VryniotisVasilis Vryniotis provides a detailed pre-launch SEO checklist for new websites, with 60 questions to ask in categories ranging from keyword optimization (“Did I choose the targeted keywords wisely? Have I made sure that I can compete for the selected terms?”) to technical website development, link structure, URL optimization and more.

Expert Guides to Google Algorithm Updates (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird and Pigeon)

5 SEO Trends From 2014: What We Learned by NewsCred

Jayson DeMersJayson DeMers looks back at five key developments in Google search from 2014 (including the “diminished impact of Google+…Social media marketers are still using Google+, to some degree, but search engine marketers are no longer viewing it as the significant platform they once projected” and the Pigeon update) as well as forward, with predictions regarding key optimization factors in 2015 and beyond.

An Introduction To Google’s Algorithm Updates by MediaPost

For those who aren’t immersed in SEO on a daily basis but still need a general understanding of how the field is continually evolving, Jeremy Walker provides “a quick primer on the most notable algorithm updates of the past five years and why they’re significant to marketers,” from Panda (first launched in February 2011) through Pigeon in July 2014 (which primarily affected local search results).

Your Google Algorithm Cheat Sheet: Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird by Moz

Marie HaynesMarie Haynes provides a comprehensive summary of Google’s three most recent major algorithm updates, explaining the focus of each as well as how to recover from related penalties. Panda, for example, focused on thin, duplicate, and low-quality content; recovering from a Panda hit requires “removing thin and duplicate content” and then waiting “sometimes take several months for Google to revisit all of your pages and recognize the changes that you have made.”

5 Reasons a Site Hit by Google Penguin Won’t Recover by Search Engine Watch

Writing that “When Google launched the Penguin algorithm April 24, 2012, many sites who had relied strongly on low-quality link building were severely affected” and had difficulty recovering their former levels of search traffic, Marie Haynes (again) digs into a handful of common reasons for slow-or-no recovery, such as improper disavowing: “In almost every case, if you’re going to disavow a link, disavow it on the domain level.”

The Story of Google – a #DigitalHistory Infographic by Tamar
***** 5 STARS

From the launch of Google in 1998 through the beginning of AdWords and the first named updates in 2002 through Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, this outstanding infographic illustrates all the major (and many of the minor) milestones in Google’s journey from startup to the world’s largest search engine.

11 Most Important Google Search Algorithm Updates in 2013 [Infographic] by SteamFeed

Pratik DholakiyaNo longer news, but helpful as a reference, this post from Pratik Dholakiya “takes readers through 11 of the most important Google search engine algorithm updates/changes of 2013,” from link devaluation and Panda (content quality) updates through increased emphasis on long-form, “evergreen” content and Hummingbird.

Expert Guides to Semantic Markup, Schema.org and the Google Knowledge Graph

6 Ways to Make Your Search Results Shine by Search Engine Watch

P.J. FuscoP.J. Fusco says “your content can leap off page-one results – if you are willing to invest a little time learning how to understand” the Google Knowledge Graph and how to use Schema.org structured markup. Fortunately, she writes, “adding structured markup is particularly easy” using Google Structured Data Markup Helper or WordPress plugins.

5 options for semantic markup to improve SEO by Smart Insights

Yusuf BhanaFor those on the technical side of SEO, Yusuf Bhana details “useful semantic HTML elements for SEO” including authorship, local business schema, product details (“Ecommerce businesses should consider product mark-up to incorporate product data such as colour, manufacturer, weight, height and price”), and breadcrumbs, with examples of each.

How Rich Snippets Add Spice to Your Online Content’s Search Results by Content Marketing Institute

Amanda DiSilvestroAmanda DiSilvestro demonstrates how rich snippets can enhance a site’s appearance in search results, and how to get started with the most popular types of rich snippets including authorship and video: “When I want to use a video rich snippet, I use this link and enter in the URL or YouTube ID of my video. It automatically generates a source code for me to use, so I don’t need to know much about coding.”

Updates to SEO by MediaPost

Laura KadeLauren Kade discusses how the Google Knowledge Graph works, what rich snippets are and how to use them, and “how to add (rich snippet) markup yourself using the data highlighter feature in Google Webmaster Tools” to make your site’s organic search listings look better.

How To Rank Above 25 In Search Queries by MediaPost

Laurie Sullivan (again) reports that “The Schema.org markup code aims to help Web sites rank better in search results, but only 36.6% of Google’s search results contain at least one Schema.org rich snippet and just 0.3% of the 50 million domains analyzed by Searchmetrics make use of Google’s Schema tools.” Consumer-oriented sites in particular can increase their probability of ranking higher by incorporating Schema markup language.

Google Sends Manual Penalty for “Spammy Structured Markup” by TrueLogic Online Solutions

Elrica GosiengfiaoElrica Gosiengfiao reports that Google is “cracking down on rich snippet spam more actively,” exactly what this means, and how web developers can avoid problems of this type with Google; for example, follow Google’s rich snippet guidelines and “make sure the markups used are correct and use Google’s structured data testing tool to preview your snippets.”

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28 (of the) Best Business Blogging Guides and Tips of 2013

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Maintaining a company blog has numerous benefits for businesses of almost all shapes and sizes: blogging is an SEO best practice; it drives more website visitors lead conversions; it draws new visitors, expanding the reach of the company website; and it’s core element of a content marketing and online presence optimization strategy.

Best Business Blogging Guides of 2013So it’s not surprising that 76% of b2b companies and 72% of b2c enterprises now have corporate blogs.

Still—not every company that blogs realizes the medium’s full potential. And blogs require significant effort and resources, so even companies that have effective blogs want to assure they are maximizing results.

How can you attract more sales prospects to your blog? Get visitors to engage with your content? Become recognized as an industry thought leader? Optimize your blog for search? What common mistakes should you avoid? Which tools and plugins should you be using?

Find the answers to those questions and many others here in more than two dozen of the best business blogging guides of the past year.

Best Business Blogging Guides and Tips

7 Steps To Make Your Blog A Marketing Machine by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenTo make your blog a marketing machine rather than a me-me-me (or me-too) blog, Heidi Cohen advises focusing on your audience’s hot buttons, outlining a series of ongoing columns, branding your blog, and incorporating clear calls to action, among other tactics.

9 Ways To Get More Prospects To Discover Your B2B Blog by Business2Community

Douglas BurdettDouglas Burdett recommends “nine tactics (that) will get your blog discovered by more readers,” from looking for and capitalizing on trends in your blog analytics and publishing original data to being controversial by “taking a stand and backing it up with data.”

An Almost Effortless Way to “Get Your Name Out There” by The Un-Self-Help Blog

Stephan WiednerStephan Wiedner shares six reasons to write guest posts for other blogs, among them: “It builds relationships. If you write for someone else’s blog and their readers like what you share, they will be grateful, potentially ask you to write again, and who knows, maybe scratch your back in other ways some time in the future.” And despite some recent, widely misinterpreted comments by Google’s Matt Cutts, guest blogging is not dead.

30+ powerful adjectives and verbs for eye-catching headlines by Econsultancy

Chris LakeQuoting advertising legend David Ogilvy that “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar,” Chris Lake offers guidance on choosing compelling blog post topics then grabbing attention by using key adjectives and verbs in the headline. Based on research over millions of page impressions, these adjectives include “best,” “brilliant,” “kickass,” “mindblowing” and “ultimate” among others.

5 Ways to Create a Deliciously Irresistible Blog Post Title by SteamFeed

Rebekah RadiceRebekah Radice explains why post titles are so important, the four objectives a post title should achieve, and a handful of tips to help craft compelling titles, such as keeping them concise: “It has been found that titles with eight words or less perform best.”

6 Ways To Go From Anonymous Hermit To Thought Leader by Fast Company

Wendy MarxContending that “Becoming a thought leader in your industry doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily the smartest kid on the block. It does mean that you’re the most receptive and understanding of your customers’ needs,” the brilliant Wendy Marx offers half a dozen tips for making the transition, including writing for trade publications and speaking at industry events.

How to Optimize Your Blog Content for Social Media by Maximize Social Business

Kristi HinesKristi Hines shares a handful of helpful tips for optimizing blog posts for social sharing, from adding social sharing buttons (a task done easily with tools like AddThis or ShareThis]) to including a social call to action (“let readers know that you want them to share your posts by adding a call to action at the end such as ‘If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends'”).

33 Experts Share Their Secrets For Improving Reader Engagement by Blogging Wizard

Adam ConnellAdam Connell compiles advice from nearly three dozen seasoned bloggers on increasing reader engagement, including tips from Seth Godin (“The only thing I do to increase reader engagement is to write things worth sharing”), frequent Webbiquity best-of contributor Neil Patel, Dino Dogan, Anita Campbell, Ted Rubin, Lisa Buben, Joel Comm and more.

7 company blogs that build community by Ragan.com

Emma SiemaskoEmma Siemasko looks at “seven company blogs that do it right, along with some practical tips for getting the same success with your blog,” among them 37Signals: “Signal vs. Noise, 37 Signals’ blog, does a lot more than promote the company…The blog provides thoughtful, inquisitive, and truth-seeking articles about working from home, whether an iPhone camera is enough of a camera, and more.”

How to Generate More Leads With Your Blog: 5 Tips by Social Media Examiner

Kristi Hines (again) supplies a handful of helpful tips for generating leads via a blog, like placing opt-in forms around your blog content with “calls to action such as free trials, free consultations or a simple mailing list opt-in form.”

How to Contribute to a Blog and be Seen by Geekless Tech

Steve HughesNoting that contributing to other blogs “helps with reach, and exposes you to an audience you just don’t have with your own blog,” Steven Hughes shares a handful of tips for constructively contributing such as following directions: “Some sites will spell out exactly what they’re looking for and what you need to do to be considered,” and creating solid, original content.

20 ideas for content that people love to share on social media by Firebrand Ideas Ignition

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas provides 20 tips to help bloggers create a steady stream of fresh content, including creating lists, republishing infographics, curating content (kind of like this post), reporting news, analyzing research results, and reviewing tools or applications.

How to Make Your WordPress Blog to Stand Out by Themefuse

Karol KrolKarol Król presents five ideas to make your blog stand out from the crowd, from picking a new publication schedule (“you won’t know which posting frequency is the best for your blog until you try at least a couple of them”) to launching a contest (“Create a genuine task, or ask a genuine question…Then gather the entries and pick the winner”).

Best Tips for Beginning Bloggers

7 Content Writing Secrets Every Blogger Should Know by Basic Blog Tips

Glen AndrewsGlen Andrews details basic but helpful strategies for writing compelling blog posts, from crafting an attention-grabbing headline and opening through “giving it a rest”–“Before you publish that post – give it a rest. Why? Because, no matter how good we think our post is today, tomorrow never lies…Our posts will be more powerful and professional if we ‘let it rest’ and review it tomorrow with fresh eyes.”

5 Steps To A Successful Blog – A First-Time Blogger’s Business Plan by Viral Mom

Bernard ZarifovicBernard Zarifovic diagrams a first-time blogger’s business plan, starting with selecting a topic or niche and writing the first set of posts and progressing through social sharing, social engagement, and guest blogging.

7 reasons why a blog is vital to your social media strategy by Memeburn

Megan BersteinWhile most of the points here will be familiar to experienced bloggers, Megan Bernstein offers some interesting insights for corporate blog strategy, such as understanding the competitive landscape: “Your competitors in the online space are not always the same as those in ‘real life’.”

Top 10 Strategies to Successful B2B Blogging by TopTenWholesale.com

Naomi Ruth GanhinhinNaomi Ruth Ganhinhin offers 10 tips for blogging success, from setting clear objectives (“A clear set of objectives makes it easier to organize the type of content you publish. It also dictates the tone you are going to use and determine the right people to write your blog posts”) to including calls to action.

Best Guides to Blogging Mistakes and Pitfalls to Avoid

Are You Making These 20 Mistakes on Your Blog? by jeffbullas.com

Jeff Bullas (again) steps through 20 “common  mistakes that a lot of ‘newbie’ and other bloggers slip into,” such as not providing additional reading sources with each post, writing posts that are too long or too short (he recommends aiming for 500-800 words), and not using post categories to help readers find posts of interest.

Still Using Google Images for Your Blog Posts? Stop It! by She Owns It

Shelley WebbWriting that she has “seen too many people served with unexpected ‘bills’ and/or lawsuits for using images that held copyrights,” guest author Shelley Webb explains what types of actions and sources can get bloggers into trouble, and lists alternative / free image sources like Stock.XCHNG.

Blogging: 34 Things You’re Doing Wrong by Social Media Today

Yvonne LyonsYvonne Lyons reveals “34 things that could be keeping your posts from getting traction and making the jump from good to remarkable,” such as errors / lack of editing, choosing a topic that’s been “done to death,” and having no links within the post to your own site—and how to fix each problem.

Why Your Company Blog is Striking Out by Marketo Blog

K'Lee BanksGuest blogger K’Lee Banks offers advice on what to do “if you are spending time writing posts, but no one is listening,” for example: use interesting images (not just stock photos), always include social sharing buttons; and “Invite other professionals in your industry to guest post and connect with their readers.”

Best Blog SEO Guides and Tips

How To Move Your Blog Post Up In Search Results by V3 Integrated Marketing

Ian ClearyGuest author Ian Cleary outlines a half-dozen tactics to improve a blog’s search rankings, including the strategic use of internal and external links: “You don’t want to include a ton of internal links, as that looks spammy. Instead, make sure you’re directing your readers to the resources that they need (internal or external).”

How to Optimize Your Business Blog [Checklist] by Unbounce
***** 5 STARS

Lindsey KirchoffIn this highly bookmark-worthy post, Lindsey Kirchoff lays out a simple four-quadrant checklist for optimizing all aspects of a business blog: structure (e.g., navigation, search, categories); SEO (attributes like keyword use, internal links and Google authorship); CTAs; and social elements.

15 SEO Experts Give Their Best Tips For Blogging by Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen (again) shares blog SEO trips from experts like Kipp Bodnar and Jeffery L. Cohen (“The single biggest factor in SEO success for bloggers comes down to consistent publishing. Those who publish regularly receive more search traffic”), Eric Enge, Ron Jones, Rebecca Lieb and Charlie White.

Best Business Blogging Tools, WordPress Tips and Plugins

4 Useful Creative Commons Browser Plugins by Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann SmartyOnline tools maven Ann Smarty reviews four browser plugins to help find free (creative commons) images for use in blog posts, including CC Search, a search plugin that provides “quick access to about 10 Creative Commons search engines (including flickr, spinxpress, wikimedia, fotopedia, etc). It’s a good search plugin when you need more options that just Flickr.”

How to Make WordPress Sites Load 72.7% Faster by CopyBlogger

Jerod MorrisIn an attempt to “cut the crap and turn down the hype” regarding how to create a faster WordPress site, Jerod Morris recommends staring by examining and optimizing the “core” of every WordPress site, which includes “hosting, theme, and plugins,” then offers a series of speed optimization tips. Not all are simple, but most bloggers should at least be able to find some helpful site speed-related takeaways here.

7 Emerging and Free WordPress Plugins of Fall 2013 by SteamFeed

Jesse AaronJesse Aaron reviews seven newer WordPress plugins, including WooSidebars (for creating custom sidebars by page), All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets (self-explanatory) and his favorite: the WordPress Calls to Action Plugin, which makes it “insanely easy” to do things like “create an effective call to action button, direct the call to action to a landing page, and direct the landing page to a conversion form.”

Easily Move Your WordPress Website to a New Host by Masterful Marketing

Debra MurphyThis is an instance where “easily” may be in the eyes of the reader, but nonetheless Debra Murphy does an exemplary job here of detailing the non-trivial process of moving an existing blog to a new web host as simple and understandable as possible.

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23 Expert SEO Link Building Guides and Tools

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which would be an awkward and uncomfortable place from which to do search engine optimization work),  you’re probably aware that the two most important things to know about link building in the post-Panda world are that 1) backlinks are still very important for ranking, and 2) traditional link-building methods (or at least many of them) are no longer effective. In its efforts to combat webspam, Google now ignores or even penalizes “unnatural” link profiles.

So what types of links should you avoid? What kinds of links are still (or now) the most valuable? How can you get more high-quality links? What tools are most helpful in link building efforts?

Find the answers to those questions and more here in almost two dozen of the best link-building guides and tool reviews of the past year.

Link Building Guides, Techniques and Tips

Six Degrees Of SEO Bacon & B2B Link Building Q&A by Search Engine Land

Debra MastalerDebra Mastaler answers seminar questions posed to her and Scott Fasser of Optify on b2b link building tactics, such as “Q: Is submitting press releases as a method for link building efficient? A: Press releases, if submitted properly, are an effective way to build short term links and to syndicate news and content…Having a plan for syndicating on a regular basis – no less than monthly is the best strategy. Optimizing the release for the focus keywords and submitted with the right service is a good strategy – especially when combined with an on-going PR effort to build excitement for news and participate in reviews, stories and roundups.”

Link Building From Scratch by Search Engine Watch

Julie JoyceJulie Joyce details 16 different kinds of links along with the pros and cons of pursuing each, ranging from the easy-to-get-but-not-worth-much (e.g., directory links) to the challenging-but-valuable (infographics and widget links).

10 Extraordinary Examples of Effective Link Bait by SEOmoz

Jon CooperObserving that “Despite what most SEOs will tell you, it’s not easy to create outstanding content that people will want to link to,” Jon Cooper provides “10 fantastic examples of link bait and what makes them so spectacular,” such as Thomson’s Evolution of Music, “a visualization of how music has traveled over the past 200 years…Why was it successful?…The two main reasons it was successful are the quality of the visualization and the social share buttons on the page. Making it easy to share gets the page in front of more eyes, and more eyes means more links.” Jon didn’t say these examples were easy, just extraordinary.

The End of Link Building as We’ve Known and Loved it by Search Engine Watch

Eric EngeFrequent best-of honoree Eric Enge notes that traditional link-building methods (even white-hat tactics) simply don’t work as well as they used to in the old world of search engine algorithms, and offers eight recommendations for tactics to create a valuable groundswell of spontaneous links, among them blogging, engaging in social media, writing news releases, advertising on targeted sites…in short, using a web presence optimization framework approach.

The 10 Golden Rules to Attracting Authority Links by SEOmoz

Neil PatelNoting that authoritative links still play a highly significant role in ranking, the brilliant Neil Patel supplies 10 rules for attracting such links, such as writing content that attracts editorial links; creating a desirable (and original) image library; writing columns or guest posts; and knowing what kinds of sites to avoid for link building.

13 Unconventional Link Building Strategies by Search Engine Journal

Sujan PatelNeed more than 10 rules? Here, Sujan Patel (Neil’s cousin) lists 13 more tips (with surprisingly little overlap to Neil’s list) including asking your local library to link to you as a reference; setting up speaking gigs; and interviewing experts in your field.

How to Avoid an Unnatural Links Penalty by AboutUs

Kristina WeisKristina Weis explains plainly and concisely how Google evaluates “unnatural” links, the specific types of links to avoid (paid, sitewide, blog networks), and some common backlink-checking tools (another is Backlink Watch).

How to Check Which Links Can Harm Your Site’s Rankings by SEOmoz

Modesto SiotosNoting that Google’s efforts to deindex “overoptimized” websites are likely to penalize many legitimate sites as well as spammy site, Modesto Siotos provides detailed instructions for a more technical audience on how to check your “backlink risk,” the tools required, and remedial actions to take if it appears your site could be at risk of a Google penalty.

Preparing for Link Armageddon by Search Engine Journal

Jeff BedfordJeff Bedford laments Google’s decision to deindex several major blog networks, which particularly impacted blogs that relied heavily on syndication networks for inbound links. He then outlines several tactics for replacing those links, from tradition PR to social relationship building, forums and guest blogging.

Linking Strategies: The Complete Guide by Coconut Headphones
***** 5 STARS

Ted IvesTed Ives offers an outstanding guide to link building, with tactics organized into five main categories: Highly Effective (e.g., produce great content, optimize news releases, ask partners for links); Worth Considering (coupons, commenting); Hard to Get Right; Wildcard Approaches (such as infographics); and Black Hat (best to avoid).

The Noob Guide to Link Building by SEOmoz
***** 5 STARS

Michael KingOnce you’ve absorbed Ted’s post above, Michael King serves up another long, detailed, and excellent (though also misnamed; true noobs will be lost, and this post has value for SEOs well beyond the noob stage) six-month link building plan, starting with quick hits like social profiles and select directories and moving along through ego bait, guest posts and event publicity.

8 Link Building Tips – Whiteboard Friday by SEOmoz

Paddy MooganPaddy Moogan presents eight link-building tips in eight minutes. My favorite: “Go to Meetup.com and search for the word ‘blogger’ and refine the results by your area, and you’ll find local bloggers meeting up in the same place. So you may find music bloggers, design bloggers, fashion bloggers. Instead of emailing all of those people, just go to the event. Go and meet them, say hello, buy them a drink, go and have dinner. It’s a much better way of building a relationship than just firing (out) a bunch of emails.”

Quality Links & Quality Content: Linchpins of Your SEO Strategy by Search Engine Watch

Christian ArnoChristian Arno discusses what constitutes a “quality link” (site relevance and trust) and how to go about getting more of them (PR, guest posts, social media, and other web presence optimization tactics), as well as consistently producing quality, link-worthy content.

Link Building Strategies That Will Work in 2013 by PPC for Hire

Jon ClarkJon Clark outlines half a dozen “Penguin-safe” link-building strategies, such as making the most of internal site links, posting on industry-specific forums, and linking out: “Whenever you come across a blog or site relevant to your niche, participate in the conversation with the author and other readers via comments. Leave fresh, useful and informative comments and create a backlink to your website.”

The Death of Link Building and the Rebirth of Link Earning – Whiteboard Friday by SEOmoz

Rand FishkinRand Fishkin pontificates on “the egress of old link building practices and the ingress of new (old) link earning strategies that will help your site stay relevant in the SERPs and drive your traffic with a better user experience,” concluding that while certain “old school” link-building tactics may still have some value, content marketing will be the most important practice going forward.

SEO Link Building Q&A with an Ex-Google Webspam Team Member by Search Engine Journal

Jason DeMersJason DeMers interviews Andre Weyher, a former member of the webspam team at Google, about backlinking do’s and don’ts. Among the answers: on how Penguin determines which domains to penalize, “The most obvious element that it focuses on is ranking due to a large amount of bad quality backlinks but it also takes into account spammy on-page techniques like keyword stuffing and over-optimization of tags and internal links;” on how identifies bad neighborhoods, “Search engines rely on website fingerprinting to identify clusters of ownership. If a particular website is relying on techniques that are not abiding the guidelines, it’s likely that the other sites owned by the same person are doing the same;” and regarding misconceptions about bad links, “Some of the biggest misconceptions that I have seen out there include ‘directories are altogether bad’ or ‘anything that is below a certain PR is considered spammy by Google.’”

131 (Legitimate) Link Building Strategies by Search Engine Watch

Julie Joyce (again) compiles a huge list of link-building tactics and tips, divided into categories including basic techniques, content-based tactics, b2b-specific tips, pointers for guest posting, and practices to avoid (such as spammy links or those unlikely to drive any traffic).

Backlink Tools

How to Get Rid of Unwanted Backlinks by Search Engine Watch

Jennifer Van IderstyneNoting that, due to Google’s Penguin update, “for many websites (and a lot of business models that involve selling 50,000 links for $10) the sky is falling. Websites that have built an unnatural looking backlink profile using a strategy of aggressive exact match anchor text usage are setting off Google’s spam alarm,” Jennifer Van Iderstyne explains how to identify and rid yourself of “bad” backlinks, and lists some of her favorite backlink research tools.

17 Tools to Analyze Your Links by Practical eCommerce

Sig UelandSig Ueland reviews 17 tools for analyzing a site’s backlink profile, ranging from “dedicated link identifiers, full search-engine-optimization suites, and link tools for search engines,”, free and paid. The list includes both popular tools like Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer as well as lesser-known alternatives like Ahrefs.

Five Killer Link-building Tools by SitePoint

Writing that “As far as link-building tools go, there are two main sorts: those that help with the data and analysis side of things, and those that focus more on speeding up the process of building relationships with other site owners” but “knowing which tools to pick from the wide variety available can be tricky,” Christina Fusano recommends a handful of excellent and proven tools, including BuzzStream and Raven Tools.

Google delivers ‘disavow links’ tool to help combat link spam by CNET News

Steven MusilSteven Musil reports on Google’s disavow links tool, designed to enable webmasters to remove links they believe might be hurting their search rankings. Of course, it’s not always obvious what constitutes a “bad” link, and if good links are accidentally deleted, it’s a time-consuming process to get them reinstated. Still, this is a vital tool—when all else fails.

4 Tools Breaking Your Backlinks into Categories by Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann SmartyThe awesome Ann Smarty reviews four tools for categorizing backlinks in various ways, such as by source type (e.g., news site, blog, directory), topic (general, computers, fashion) and placement (footer, site-wide, image, comment), which can be very helpful in executing a web presence optimization strategy. The good news is that all of these tools can provide some valuable filtering and insights; the bad news is none yet provide a high level of comprehensiveness and accuracy.

And Finally…

79 Link Building Resources for 2012 by KISSmetrics

Kristi HinesIf you just can’t enough link building information, Kristi Hines here provides links to 79 more link-building resources ranging from “Thought Pieces on Post-Penguin Link Building” and types of links to avoid to the top link-building tools and blogs.

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23 (More) of the Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Resources of 2012

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

As noted in 33 (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Resources of 2012 So Far, posted here a few months ago, social media marketing adoption is now so widespread there’s little further question of “if” or “when” in the minds of most marketers–but many “how” and “what” questions still remain.

How can marketers make more productive use of their time on social networking sites? What’s the best time of day to post updates on Twitter or Facebook? How can you make sure your company’s social media policy doesn’t run afoul of employment law? What under-utilized site has been called a “social media powerhouse,” and which highly popular social bookmarking site is frequently overlooked by marketers? How can you measure (or can you measure) social media ROI?

Find the answers to those questions and many more here in almost two dozen of the best social media guides, tips, tools, insights and rants of 2012.

Social Media Marketing Guides and Tips

Social Media Campaigns Don’t Match When Consumers Are Online by Spin Sucks

Gini DietrichThe brilliant Gini Dietrich reports on research showing that marketers commonly choose the wrong time of day to post and engage on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as to send emails. While the study was fairly small, the findings are consistent with other sources indicating that they key to better social media results may lie in better timing of updates rather than just more of them.

12 Essential Social Media Cheat Sheets by Mashable

Ann SmartyTools guru-ess Ann Smarty shares a dozen helpful “cheat sheets,” which “are basically infographics that can give a user a simple rundown of various features and how to use them.” The collection here provides guidance on getting the most out of Google+, Facebook and Twitter, as well as network-specific spam definitions and keyboard shortcuts.

Fortune 500 CEOs Don’t Get Social Media! [Research] by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenQuoting research showing that “70% of the Fortune 500 CEOs have no presence on social media networks…Two thirds of CEOs on Facebook have less than 100 friends and over a quarter of CEOs on LinkedIn have 1 or 0 connections,” the always insightful Heidi Cohen suggests three reasons why CEOs fear social media (such as liability concerns) and three ways they could actually leverage it instead (such as setting an example for employees: “An active CEO encourages others to engage and shows public support for social media activity that helps build brand and customer relationships over time”).

How your brand is abusing social networks by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS

In this must-read post for social media strategists, Rob Rose explains in his own often provocative and always entertaining manner how brands are commonly misusing social media by treating it as another marketing channel, the dangers of that approach, and why each social network should instead be utilized according to its own unique personality and etiquette. “Marketers are the nerdy freshman at the cool kids’ senior party. Say the wrong thing — or say it in the wrong way — and risk getting ridiculed and bounced out. Come with a case of beer and some great conversation, and you just might be a hit. But even then, you are only one mistake away from a viral case of #Fail…make no mistake, this is challenging — and it’s not an even playing field. It used to be that marketers could simply avoid being “salesy” on their social channels, and the world would be OK…But as social marketing becomes increasingly business driven — and content strategies converge in the paid, owned, and earned (POE) models — simply using social channels to engage and entertain is no longer quite as simple…it’s no longer good enough to want to show up to the party with a case of beer. Now, you’ve got to find a way to pay for it as well.”

Beyond the Basics: 30 Fresh Social Media Tips for 2012 by KISSmetrics

Kristi HinesFrequent best-of honoree Kristi Hines provides an outstanding list of general social media tips (e.g., “Cross promote your social profiles. Look for opportunities to add links from one social profile to others. Google+, for example, allows you to link to as many of your other social profiles as you choose”) as well as specific suggestions for getting the most out of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Slideshare: The B2B Social Media Powerhouse by Heidi Cohen

Noting that “Slideshare receives 60 million visitors per month. More importantly, these visitors tend to be highly influential business people seeking to engage with relevant content,” Heidi Cohen (again) serves up 10 actionable Slideshare marketing tactics, from knowing your target audience on the site to using hashtags, optimizing your presentation’s title and tracking results.

Five Ways Social is Shaping your B2B Customers by LinkedIn Today

David EdelmanDavid Edelman shares a presentation from McKinsey’s Lareina Yee on the Social Enterprise, which includes five ways  social is shaping B2B customers, among them “DIY prospecting” (where customers conduct significant research before ever entering the sales cycle), peer influence, and “click to compare”–conditioned to price transparency in their consumer lives, B2B buyers are coming to expect it from business product and service vendors as well.

3 ways to stop wasting time on social media by iMedia Connection

Drew HubbardDrew Hubbard outlines three social media management practices that will “free you up to do more of what really matters in social media — respond and engage.” Even more helpfully, he lists tools that will assist with each practice. For example, useful tools for keeping a collaborative calendar include Google Calendar, Outlook, Basecamp and ZOHO.

The 5 Best Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Traffic to Your Website by WindMill Networking

Lilach BullockGuest blogger Lilach Bullock shares a handful of tips for increasing web traffic from social media, including being active and engaged (“The one thing that most business owners using social media don’t do is listen”) and making influential links (“identify a list of key influential people in your industry and engage with them. If you are genuine in your praise they will naturally want to find out about you too”).

7 Sources of Inspiration for Writing Sizzling Social Media Posts by Rebekah Radice

Rebekah RadiceWriting that “Unless you are a natural born writer with exceptional skills, running out of content ideas is inevitable,” Rebekah Radice offers tips for finding topic inspiration such as through social media (Facebook groups, LinkedIn questions, Twitter trending topics), books and other industry-related publications, and (when all else fails) re-purposing your own older content.

Social Media ROI Measurement Guides

Social Media: ROI Possible by SlideShare

Angie SchottmullerIn this presentation originally delivered at SES San Francisco, the delightful Angie Schottmuller explains why social media seems like it should be easy, but isn’t. She notes that “social media” is far more than Twitter, blogs and Facebook, now encompassing “social listening,” content curation, crowdfunding, social gaming, social CRM and more. She shares the three reasons that social media ROI measurement is rare, then presents a plan to address each obstacle.

If the presentation alone doesn’t supply quite enough detail for you, check out Social Media ROI: How To Define a Strategic Plan, Angie’s guest post further exploring the same topic on Search Engine Watch.

6 Expert Tips for Measuring Social Media ROI by OMI Blog

Megan LeapMegan Leap share half a dozen tips on social media ROI measurement from Nichole Kelly, author of How to Measure Social Media: A Step-By-Step Guide to Developing and Assessing Social Media ROI. such as “Social media interactions take place on the web, which is inherently more measurable than offline channels like print, TV and Radio. Measuring social media is actually really easy and most marketers have the tools they need. They just need to start using them a different way.”

Social Media Tools

5 Tools to Simplify Social Media Monitoring Tasks by Link-Assistant.Com Blog

Ann Smarty (again) reviews a handlful of helpful social media monitoring tools, including a couple of familiar names (SproutSocial, HootSuite), a couple of less familiar options (such as Cyfe), and even shows how the free Google Reader tool can be used for basic brand- or keyword-monitoring.

The Top 5 Social Media Managing Tools by Social Media Today

Jen EisenbergJen Eisenberg present highlights of five social media management tools, including not just popular applications like HootSuite but also newer, lesser-known tools such as RebelMouse and Flavors.me, which she calls “a hidden treasure…You can pull your photos, updates, videos, music and more from 35 different web services, one of the most of any social media aggregators.”

Social media tools for the smart agency by iMedia Connection

Scott Fiaschetti reviews seven tools for social media monitoring and management, ranging from relatively simple and inexpensive (uberVu) to more sophisticated offerings like Adaptly, “a platform for execution and optimization of social campaigns across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, and YouTube.

Social Media Cheat Sheet for Image Dimensions by The Landlord Blog

How large should your cover photo be on Facebook? What about a story image or shared Facebook video? How many pixels of your Twitter background image are visible to most users? What are the correct dimensions for a cover photo on Google+? Find the ideal / required dimensions for all of these uses and many others in this highly bookmarkable infographic.

24 Must-Have Social Media Marketing Tools by Social Media Examiner
***** 5 STARS

Cindy KingCindy King compiles two dozen recommendations from social media pros on their favorite tools, from Commun.it (which Shelly Lucas says helps her to “build and nurture relationships with supporters, influencers and potential customers on Twitter”) to AgoraPulse (which according to Aaron Kahlow “provides everything your Facebook Page will ever need”).

Writing Social Media Policies

Eight Ways Your Employee Social-Media Policy May Violate Federal Law by Ad Age Digital

Brian HeidelbergerEvery marketing manager knows that his/her company needs a social media policy for employees, right? Actually, no—as of mid-2012, only about 40% of companies had such policies in place. Even worse, according to Brian Heidelberger, is that it’s quite possible “most all of our current social media policies are illegal.” According to rules established by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a social media policy likely runs afoul of the law if it prohibits or restricts “friending” other employees, posting about the company, talking about coworkers, talking to the press, or using social media sites while at work.

Your Social Media Policies by iMedia Connection

Lee SchneiderLee Schneider outlines nine key points to keep in mind when creating a social media policy, among them “support individuality but stay on message…Many company accounts have multiple posters. Encourage them to let their voice come through, but also make it clear that they are posting for the brand and what the brand stands for,” encourage dialogue but never argue on the Internet, and don’t delete complaints (but do respond to them humbly, helpfully and publicly).

Reddit Marketing Tips

6 Ways to Use Reddit to Grow Your Business by Social Media Examiner

Ben BeckI know—Reddit? A site whose home page is frequently dominated with stories that have headlines like “How I respond whenever a girl thinks I’m cool” and “Extremely Scary Ghost Elevator Prank in Brazil” hardly seems like a promising venue for professional marketers, but don’t write off the second-most popular bookmarking site on the web until you’ve read Ben Beck’s discussion of half a dozen popular business-oriented communities there.

Reddit Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC] by e-Strategy Trends

David EricksonDavid Erickson shares the Reddit Marketing Field Guide infographic, which provides stats about Reddit use (2.5 billion monthly page views), the typical Redditor (18-34 years old, geeky, liberal and male), and tips on adding content that will get shared (spamming will get you nowhere). Despite its high traffic, Reddit isn’t appropriate for every marketer; but if this is your target market, then this is your helpful infographic.

YouTube Marketing Tactics

6 lessons in launching a branded YouTube channel by iMedia Connection

Michael Estrin shares tips from several agency professionals on how brands can get the most out of their YouTube channels, from starting with a strategy and plan through keeping your audience engaged. In the end, success comes down to “picking what is achievable for your brand and matching realistic key performance indicators to them.”

The ultimate guide to video marketing on YouTube by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS

Kent LewisReporting that “global internet video traffic will make up 54 percent of all consumer internet traffic in 2016 — up from 51 percent in 2011” and “Video offers greater retention and recall — up to five times greater than the written word,” Kent Lewis provides an exhaustive guide to everything from video marketing best practices and optimization essentials to YouTube advertising and video sitemaps.

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21 (of the) Best Facebook Guides, Tools and Rants of 2012 So Far

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Despite a shaky IPO last spring, Facebook remains the 800-pound gorilla of social media marketing, as it now approaches the billion-user mark. Though often associated with bands and brands, Facebook is viewed as the most effective social media tool (by a fairly large margin) by both B2C and bB2B marketers.

Best Facebook Guides of 2012So what are the best tactics for marketing and advertising on Facebook? How can marketers best utilize social plugins for the platform? Which apps are still worthy (and functional) in the Timeline interface? How can brands most successfully drive fan engagement? Will Facebook continue to grow and dominate the web, or is it headed for a fall like AOL and MySpace before it?

Find the answers to these questions and many others here in more than 20 of the best Facebook guides, tactics, observations, tools, stats and rants of 2012 thus far.

Facebook Guides, Tips & Techniques

7 Unbelievably Cool Facebook Ad Tactics by AllFacebook

Dennis Yu provides an outstanding set of techniques to use in various circumstances, such as when you hosting an event, promoting a video, or if your customers are other businesses: “If you know the names of the actual companies you’d like to have as clients, include them in the your list of workplace targets. But be careful to attract only decision makers. If you’d like to get the attention of Walmart executives, narrow down to folks age 25 and up who live within a 25-mile radius of Bentonville, Arkansas, or else you risk targeting employees in stores across the country.”

15 Ways To Use Facebook Pages for Business by Social Media Today

Matt Hamilton lists “some great ideas for your own business Facebook use,” such as for product testing, news release promotion, customer service, ideas to feed your new product development process, employee recognition, and even growing your email list: “it is important to make sign-up very easy. Using a software service such as MailChimp allows you to add a simple sign up form to your Facebook business page and also get some great tools for creating the newsletter.”

28 Things You Need To Know About The New Facebook Pages by KISSmetrics

Though this post is now old news for many Facebook marketers, this piece by frequent best-of contributor Kristi Hines nonetheless provides a great review of Timeline features to go back to and make sure nothing was missed or sub-optimized from Facebook brand timeline pages. For example, “While you can have a total of 12 custom tabs (including your Photos and Page Likes), only four are showed at the top of your page. This means visitors to your page have to be savvy enough to click on the down arrow to find the rest. You can swap the position of your custom tabs to make sure the best ones are up top by clicking on the down arrow, hovering over the tab, clicking on the pencil, and selecting which tab to swap it with.”

The Complete Guide To Facebook Timeline Pages by AllFacebook

As with the post above, this post is pretty much old news at this point, but still worth a quick skim to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything important in your brand’s Facebook Timeline development.

Simple Step-by-Step Instructions for Setting Up a Facebook Ad Campaign by HubSpot

Dan Stagen walks through a dozen steps to create a Facebook ad campaign, from determining a call to action and writing an ad through all of the various targeting criteria to pricing, review and launch.

Facebook Apps and Tools

25 Timeline Ready Apps for Enhancing Your Facebook Page by Social @ Blogging Tracker

Ching Ya reviews more than two dozen helpful (and Timeline-compatible) Facebook apps for functions like providing FAQ information, creating contact forms, displaying a Google Map for your business, showcasing your YouTube videos, encouraging discussion and sharing, integrating Twitter, and more.

6 Tools Social Media Experts Use to Update Facebook Pages by KISSmetrics

Kristi Hines (again) presents the pros and cons of updating Facebook using third-party apps (e.g., the impact of Edgerank: “One thing that EdgeRank has the potential of doing is lowering the value of an update from a third-party tool and prioritizing updates that are made directly on Facebook. This means that pages with updates from third-party apps may not get as much engagement”), then reviews six such tools, including HootSuite and Buffer, for those who choose to go the third-party route regardless.

The Ultimate Guide to Marketing With Facebook’s Social Plugins by HubSpot

Explaining that “a Facebook Social Plugin is basically a widget you can add to your website to extend the benefits of your Facebook marketing efforts beyond Facebook. It’s a way to get more marketing mojo out of Facebook on your own website,” Pamela Vaughan reviews 11 of these plugins, explaining what each one does, its marketing value, and how to install and use it.

18 Tools to Develop Your Brand on Facebook by Practical eCommerce
5 STARS *****

Sig Ueland showcases 18 tools for engagement, promotion and monitoring on Facebook, including the Wildfire (now owned by Google) suite of apps for social media promotion, the Forum for Pages discussion board app, and EdgeRank Checker for post optimization. Missing from the list though is Workface, the first non-Facebook-owned interactive profile and multi-format chat tool to be fully functional in Facebook.

Facebook Changes

The evolution of Facebook features by EngageSciences

A fantastic infographic illustrating the history of Facebook feature changes from 2006 through the beginning of 2012. The narrative also points out why keeping up with Facebook’s constant changes, though maddening, is essential: “the introduction of the Facebook Mobile App has been fantastic as it is now the worlds largest mobile app with 400m users, which has stimulated more people to use the site more often, but businesses have been caught out as they have not realised that apps and tabs they create currently cannot be accessed by users of the Facebook Mobile App. With up to 40% of traffic coming from smartphones that is a lot of lost interaction.”

Facebook’s biggest change yet: Actions are here by VentureBeat

Jolie O’Dell explains what Actions are and why they matter:”Actions are kind of the Holy Grail of semantic data, defining relation types between people, objects, content, places, businesses, and so much more. If users warm to the idea of Actions, it might also be one of the most valuable and lucrative move Facebook will ever make.” But she concludes by writing “As Facebook executive Bret Taylor explained it, with the addition of Actions to Facebook profiles, ‘You can see everything you have ever done in any app.’” Do Facebook users really want that?

Facebook Timeline for Brands: The Complete Guide by Mashable

Christine Erickson puts a positive spin on the March Timeline change and provides an extensive list of Timeline-related resources from Mashable, including Timeline for Brands: How to Prepare for Your Company’s New Facebook Page and Facebook Timeline: 10 Fresh Designs for Creative Inspiration [PICS].

Facebook is telling businesses to become better content marketers by iMedia Connection

According to Doug Schumacher, the “big story” of Facebook’s switch to Timeline format “is that Facebook is essentially telling all marketers that they’d better get their content game on. That’s because your paid advertising on Facebook and the content you publish on Facebook are now one and the same, from a messaging standpoint. The focus on Facebook paid ads won’t be on crafting individual messages that you then optimize, as it’s been in the past. Instead, you’ll simply pipe your best content pieces into different ad units, and measure performance based on how your content attracts interest.”

Facebook Opinions, Observations and Stats

Facebook’s Potential Search Power Could Surpass Google’s by MediaPost

Diane Mermigas is bullish on the long-term value and potential of Facebook, and explains how the social networking behemoth could develop a “torrent of new revenue and value that eventually will make its $100 billion IPO valuation look like child’s play” through a combination of mobile, social search, its relationship with Microsoft / Bing, gaming, and image sharing.

Facebook to Brands: You’re Posting Stuff Wrong by Ad Age

Matt Creamer reports on data showing that the most engaging brand content is generally, well, content closely related to the brand. Attempts to “humanize” the brand through off-topic surveys, questions, and recommendations don’t increase “likes” or grow a brand’s following. And if you want to use questions to drive engagement? “Buddy Media found that brand fans are more willing to comment when asked a question, especially if the question begins with ‘where,’ ‘when,’ ‘would’ and ‘should.’ But other interrogatory words don’t work as well. Avoid asking ‘why’ questions,’ advised the Buddy Media paper. ‘Why’ has both the lowest ‘like’ and comment rates and may be seen as intrusive and/or challenging.”

Facebook on SecondMarket (Infographic) by SecondMarket

An interesting graphical depiction of the rise in Facebook’s value from early 2008 (when the social network had a mere 145 million users and had just introduced Facebook chat) through the company’s IPO in May of this year. In terms of the dollar volume of shares traded at the IPO, 79% of sales were by former Facebook employees, while more than half of purchases were by hedge funds and asset managers.

Facebook Skeptics and Rants

Why there will never be a Margie Clayman Facebook Fan Page by Margie’s Moments of Tiyoweh

The delightful Margie Clayman uses her dagger-sharp pen to skewer the concept of personal fan pages, observing for example, “Isn’t your profile on Facebook kind of a fan page already?…even though the word ‘friend’ is used rather loosely these days, isn’t it more comforting to think that you have 500 friends versus 500 fans?”

Facebook: Why is nobody listening? by ComMetrics

How much is your brand spending on its Facebook strategy? You may want to reevaluate that after reading this scathing but meticulously data-supported post from Urs E. Gattiker. “Facebook status updates are similar to broadcasting a message to an empty football stadium…900 out of every 1000 people do not even see your status update or tweet. Only 0.05 percent (1 person per 2,000 readers) engage by joining the conversation with a comment on your blog or Facebook page.”

14 Ways New Facebook Betrays Small Business by Convince & Convert

Jay Baer contends that “the new design and rules accompanying the new Timeline version of Facebook pages is a boon to big business, and a blow to small business,” for 14 reasons he details, including the death of the landing tab (One area where small businesses could excel in ‘old’ Facebook was with the default landing tab. This became a de-facto landing page/microsite for many companies, and made it relatively easy to drive fan behavior – especially when using inexpensive software. Of course, Facebook killed it in Timeline”) and the penalty on third-party apps.

Why Facebook Could Disappear by MediaPost

Contemplating the future of Facebook in the wake of losing advertising dollars from GM (and potentially other large brands), and the fate of predecessors like AOL, George Simpson writes “MySpace was well on its way to becoming that iconic, can’t-live-without-it kind of company, and Facebook came along and cut its legs off. As soon as the aunts and uncles and grandpas showed up on MySpace, the kids that were the cornerstone of their business hit the exits and ran straight for Facebook. I contend the exact same thing could happen to Facebook.”

The Facebook Fallacy by Technology Review

If you are having too nice of a day, or perhaps even feeling a bit optimistic about the future of online marketing, Michael Wolff will bring you back to earth with his explanation here of why “Facebook not only is on course to go bust but will take the rest of the ad-supported Web with it.” Stock up on canned goods and ammo.

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