Posts Tagged ‘Ron Jones’

11 (of the) Best SEO Tools and Keyword Research Guides of 2012

Monday, January 28th, 2013

With its progression of benignly named yet ferocious algorithm updates (Farmer, Panda, Penguin), Google continues, in its efforts to battle webspam, to confound and make life more difficult for legitimate SEO professionals and their clients as well.

Fortunately, there are a large and growing number of tools available to help SEO practitioners adapt and carry on their valiant efforts to help Google bring the most relevant (usually anyway) results to the top.

Best SEO Tools and Keyword Research Guides of 2012What are the best tools for finding and eliminating broken links? Which tools work best outside the U.S.? How can you develop a keyword strategy that will set your site (or your client’s site) apart from the competition? Which tools beyond the most common are most useful for developing target keyword lists?

Find the answers to these questions and many more here in almost a dozen of the best guides to SEO tools and keyword research of the past year.

SEO Tools and Reviews

Search Engine Tools:Some of the Best SEO Tools are Free…Take a Look! by Coconut Headphones

Ted IvesTed Ives offers quick reviews of almost a dozen of his “personal favorite free search optimization tools for SEO,” including Xenu Link Sleuth (“Perfect for finding broken links and much much more”), Screaming Frog (“an ideal tool for performing a quick site audit”) and the SEOQuake Toolbar (“great for rapidly doing a competitive analysis on a SERP”).

Top SEO Tools for 2012 by Mark The Marketer

Mark GottliebMark Gottlieb reviews nine of his favorite free and fee-based SEO tools, including some common ones like SEOmoz and Screaming Frog as well as some that may be less familiar, such as Keyword Blaze (“Keyword Blaze is one of the best if not the best keyword research tool”—and it’s free.)

78 Resources For Every Internet Marketer’s Toolkit by Search Engine Watch
**** 5 STARS

Dave DaviesDave Davies provides an outstanding list and mini-reviews of almost 80 of his “favorite resources based on what they yield and what they produce from a dollar-in-dollar-out perspective,” ranging from SEO audit and link building tools to coding tools, conversion tools, social media tools and “convenience” tools like Domain Tools (“Quick and easy access to domain information including registration, server details and location and some basic SEO information”).

Link Rot – and the Most Amazing Free Tool to Find and Fix Broken Links by Internet Marketing Ninjas

Jim BoykinWriting that “There are diseases on the web that you don’t want to get, and if you’ve had a website online for years, or if your site links to other sites, then there’s a great chance that you’ve caught some Link Rot… it doesn’t sound nice, and it’s really not nice,” Jim Boykin explains what link rot is and links to a new tool to fix it.

40+ SEO Tools of the Trade by Search Engine Watch

Derek EdmondDerek Edmond presents a categorized list of tools for on-page SEO analysis, keyword research, content generation, social media profile link info, competitive analysis, link diagnosis and other functions, then addresses SEO tools for Asia and takes an in-depth look at Bing Webmaster Tools.

Bing Offers Up a Free Link Graph by SEOBook

Aaron WallAaron Wall interviews Duane Forrester of Bing about the search engine’s new SEO tools and product roadmap. The two discuss Bing’s link explorer tool in detail, covering topics such as the size of the tool’s index, search filters, future product plans, trends, marketing strategy and more.

14 Search Tools to Bookmark by Search Engine Watch

Duncan ParryDuncan Parry reviews a collection of “really useful tools, some of which you will use every day” including StatsCounter (which provides “data on the market shares of search engines, browser versions, computer, and mobile hardware and operating systems here for most countries”) and keyword tools from Google, Yandex, Baidu, SEOBook, Ubersuggest and YouTube.

Keyword Research Guides and Tools

Be Careful Using AdWords for Keyword Research by The Daily SEO Blog

Rand FishkinRand Fishkin points out some of the limitations of the Google AdWords keyword for organic keyword research, lessons learned from one of his experiments (“Running discovery-focused searches in AdWords may not show you all the valuable/high-volume keyword phrases connected to a word/phrase”), and four methods for addressing this challenge.

7 Tips for Developing a Killer Keyword Strategy by ClickZ

Ron JonesFor experienced SEO professionals, Ron Jones walks through a set of questions to ask when formulating keyword strategy, such as goals (primarily branding or conversion?), measures of success, keyword-landing page mapping, selection criteria beyond search volume (e.g., relevance, intent and level of competition) and more.

22 Free Keyword Research Tools by Practical eCommerce

Noting that “Choosing the right keyword is the foundation of successful search engine optimization,” Sig Ueland reviews nearly two dozen tools designed to help identify the most promising keywords for a site, ranging from the familiar (the Google AdWords keyword tool, SEMrush) to the more esoteric (Soovle, Trendistic, MetaGlossary).

An Introduction to Keyword Research Using Free Tools by The YouMoz Blog
*****5 STARS

Astutely noting that “Many SEOs will tend to stick with using Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool and as a result, they will most likely be targeting the exact same keywords as the competition,” Adam Whittles outlines a contrarian strategy based on long tail keywords, staring with basic research and competitive intelligence and progressing through research tools, filtering and measurement.

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17 (of the) Best AdWords and SEM Guides of 2011

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Paid search sometimes gets a bad rap, as various studies have shown that (depending on whose numbers you believe), anywhere from 75% to 85% of all clicks are on organic, rather than paid,  links.

Best AdWords and SEM Guides of 2011That high-level analysis is misleading, however. Consider just one category of searches: students conducting research projects. Whether its a junior high, high school or college student, researching anything from the paintings of Pablo Picasso to the writings of William Shakespeare to the mating habits of zebras, the odds of such of search resulting on a paid ad click are virtually zero. That’s just one entire category of searches that should, rightfully, be removed from any relevant analysis.

The fact is, paid search is a vital component of any web presence optimization strategy because it enables advertising companies to:

  • • appear prominently in search results for terms that would be difficult to rank for organically (e.g. competitor names or highly competitive search phrases);
  • • control the precise message (their ad) that searchers will see in the search results;
  • • guarantee exp0sure on page 1 of search results when buyers are late in their purchasing process;
  • • specify exactly what page searchers will be linked to; and
  • • direct searchers to landing pages that may be very difficult to optimize organically (e.g., pages with a conversion form and limited content).

The best approach is to use organic SEO and paid search (e.g., Google AdWords) in conjunction to maximize first-page-of-the-search-results exposure. With that said, how can you maximize the impact of paid search ads? Increase the click-through rate on paid search ads?  Understand Google AdWords quality scores? Optimize landing pages for conversions?

Discover the answers to these questions and many more here in 17 of the best AdWords and SEM guides of the past year.

AdWords Guides, Tips & Tactics

The New Paid Search Ads On The Block by MediaPost Search Insider

Janel Landis LaravieJanel Landis Laravie highlights changes Google had made to give paid search results more prominence, among them Local, Product, Video, Phone and Sitelinks, and states that “If you still are not using these, you are missing out.” She describes in detail how sitelinks are used and how advertisers can take advantage of these features.

How to Write a Killer AdWords Ad by Treating It a Mini Landing Page by Search Engine Journal

Paras ChopraObserving that “text ads follow structure of good landing pages. First, there is a headline.  Then there are two lines of text (the copy). Finally there is call to action (the URL),” Paras Chopra discusses the attributes of an effective PPC ad and how to create one by optimizing each element of the ad.

2 Little Known Ways To Increasing CTR And Quality Score by Certified Knowledge

Chris ThunderNoting that “the biggest factor that influences (quality score) is CTR,” Chris Thunder shows how to use day-parting and geo-targeting to gradually increase CTRs and quality scores by granularly excluding low-click-through hours and geographic locations.

5 Tips for Increasing Your AdWords Quality Score by ClickZ

Ron JonesFrequent best-of honoree Ron Jones notes that Google uses three primary factors—CTR, ad relevance (“relevance of the keyword or search query to the ad”) and landing page relevance and reputation—to assign quality score, and walks through a 5-step process, from creating carefully targeted ad groups to reducing landing page loading time, to help improve quality scores.

How Does the AdWords Auction Work? [Infographic] by The WordStream Blog

Elisa GabbertElisa Gabbert illustrates “how exactly the AdWords auction works, including what gets entered into each ‘auction,’ how Google determines which ads are shown where, (and) how Google determines what advertisers pay” for search ads in this handy and helpful infographic.

How to Schedule Dayparting on Google AdWords by Search Engine Watch

Howie JacobsonWriting that “all businesses have specific time periods in which they are more profitable than others,” Howie Jacobson steps through the process of how to determine the most and least productive hours for any AdWords campaign, and details the process for excluding certain blocks of time each day. He also adds a helpful reminder to take time zones into account when day parting.

AdWords and PPC Guides from PPC Hero

Nowhere else in this best-of series does a single source gets its own section in a summary, but the team at PPC Hero so consistently produces notable PPC-related content that they have earned this distinction.

AdWords Privacy Policy Updates, Just in Time!

Jessica CatesJessica Cates steps through Google’s changes to its privacy and transparency requirements from AdWords advertisers. Essentially, Google requires that advertisers make it clear to landing page visitors how their personal information will be used, how to opt out of communications with the business, and a secure connection if any financial information will be transmitted.

Ticker Tuesday: Are You Sure You’re Optimized For PPC Mobile?

Jessica RooneyJessica Rooney provides a video guide to mobile PPC advertising, specifically “how to check to see that you’re set up for mobile PPC in a way that gives you the most benefit from your PPC campaigns.”

The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords Quality Score
***** 5 STARS

This must-read-and-bookmark guide is designed to de-mystify the murky value that is the Google AdWords Quality Score, and to help PPC marketers “understand the different types of Google Quality Score, why they’re important, the misconceptions about Quality Score, and (provide) a checklist of actions you can take to help raise…Quality Score.”

Whaddya’know Wednesdays: 5 Tips to Improve Quality Score

Kayla KurtzFor ADD-sufferers interested in this topic, Kayla Kurtz presents a highly-condensed version of the the guide above, focusing on a handful of quick tips to help improve your AdWords quality scores, in this less-than-two-minute video.

Keyword Match Types: The What and Why

Bryan WatsonBryan Watson analyzes the six keyword match types (broad, phrase, exact, negative, embedded, and modified broad) and explains how to properly use each type, e.g., “if your marketing campaign is targeted towards customers in the beginning phase of the buying cycle, broad match may be good to utilize in order to target people who are looking for your service, but aren’t entirely sure what to search for.”

Expert Advice and Best Practices for AdWords Dummies

For anyone who’s not entirely clear on what all the unique phrases and acronyms used within the AdWords realm mean exactly, Faseeh Shams has compiled a list with extensive definitions for terms ranging from quality score and CTR to search query reports and negative keywords–along with tips for improvement in each area.

adCenter 101: Utilizing Campaign Analytics For Better Conversion Data

Dave RosboroughExplaining that “I’ve found that literature pertaining to (Microsoft adCenter’s paid search interface) is sparse, so I intend to contribute to the lack thereof,” Dave Rosborough supplies an overview of how adCenter works and steps through the setup process.

PPC Ad Copy Writing For Beginners

Bryan Watson (again) goes through the process of writing effective PPC ads, starting with using keywords in ad titles, moving along to utilizing action words in ad copy (“Call Today, Get a Quote, Sign Up, Etc.”), and proceeding through continuously testing all elements of the ads.

General Search Engine Marketing Guides and Tips

The Backward Landing Page by ClickZ
***** 5 STARS

Brian MasseyBrian Massey demonstrates how to design the perfect landing page, starting from a blank slate rather than treating the landing page as another page on your site, with all of the attendant design and navigational baggage. Priceless: writing that the clearest, simplest landing page would contain nothing more than a “Submit” button, Brian notes “Unfortunately, this page will only be effective if you’re selling to a very curious crowd or are selling dominatrix services, where to ‘Submit’ makes sense. For other markets, we’ll have to make the call to action more relevant.”

The Bid Management Recipe by Search Engine Watch

Alistair DentAlistair Dent explains what you’ll need to set up a system to optimize keyword bids in your paid search campaigns, and helpfully defines relevant terms like cost per conversion (CPC): “CPC = Average Order Value x CoS x Conversion Rate.” This works fine for relatively small PPC programs, but advertisers running large campaigns with thousands of keywords turn to bid management software to automate this process.

5 Reasons PPC Search Beats PPC Social by ClickZ

Kevin LeeKevin Lee warns paid search marketers to avoid “shiny object syndrome” in placing PPC ads, noting that while “social media advertising shows a lot of potential for brand advertisers looking for ways to influence demand and build awareness,” search still has indisputable direct response benefits such as harvesting demand and providing clear success metrics.

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39 More (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Insights of 2011

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

The notion of using social media for business has gone from cutting edge to commonplace in an amazingly short time. And for those laggard firms still resisting social media, recent changes by Google now make it all but imperative.

Of course, there’s no single cookie-cutter approach to social media marketing that works for every enterprise. And many companies that jumped in early experienced failures and disappointments, pulled back, and then re-approached social media from a more strategic angle.

Best Social Media Guides of 2011While certain aspects of social media have stabilized (e.g., Facebook is the largest social network and is unlikely to fall to any “Facebook killer” application anytime soon; Google is going to keep trying to build its own social network until it manages to create one that attracts more users than lawsuits), many practices are still evolving. What’s the most effective way to grow a company’s social influence? How widely within an organization should social media tasks be distributed? How can an brand establish trust online? What are the best practices for sharing content on each major social network? What common mistakes and pitfalls should be avoided? Is it really possible to measure social media ROI—and if so, how?

Find the answers to these questions and more here in more than three dozen of the best social media guides, insights, rants and reports of the past year.

Social Media Marketing Tips and Tactics

Social Media, What Matters Most for Marketers by iMedia Connection

Noting that the “trend in digital information sharing (on social networks) is still a huge challenge for many companies,” Rick van Boekel advises marketers to develop a strategy, stay involved (or stay away), and integrate efforts among other guidance for marketing success in social media.

Practical Reasons Why Businesses Need Social Media by Social Media Today

Austen Mayor articulates both qualitative and quantitative justifications for social media investments. Among the hard numbers he lists: according to a social media industry study, 72% of companies active in social media report higher website traffic, 62% say it has improved search engine rankings, and 48% say it has increased sales.

Why Aren’t You Promoting Your Social Profiles? 10 Ways to Make it Happen by The Social Media Chef

Chris TomkinsChris Tompkins supplies 10 methods to help “promote your social media profiles OUTSIDE of logging in to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter,” such as adding your social media profiles to company email signatures, business cards, advertising and all marketing collateral.

Stop shoving social media down my throat by {grow}

Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer explains why be believes it is NOT a good idea to force “social media down the throats of employees at every level of the company,” contrary to advice given elsewhere. People bring different skills to the job. As Mark concludes, “Being adept at social media is NOT EASY for everybody. And we should be able to live with that human diversity.”

50 Social Media Marketing Tips and Tactics by Jeff Bullas

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas lists “50 synergistic social media marketing tips and tactics to market your content and ideas and help them to spread to a global audience,” divided into six platform categories: blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Slideshare.

Forrester: 5 Stages Of Social Media Growth by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Gavin O’Malley reviews research from Forrester on the five stages of social media maturity that corporations typically pass through, starting with the dormant stage (“one in five companies still don’t use any social media. These companies tend to be highly conservative, heavily regulated, or just not interested, according to Forrester”) then progressing through “distributed chaos” and additional steps before reaching the optimization stage.

A quick guide to 5 social media platforms by iMedia Connection

Linda IrelandLinda Ireland offers helpful tips to marketers on going beyond the basics to take advantage of the unique strengths of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare and LinkedIn (e.g., “If you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn is a great way to identify, connect with, and build stronger relationships with potential customers by interacting with them through LinkedIn Groups and providing responses to the questions they post on LinkedIn Answers”).

Social Trust Factor: 10 Tips to Establish Credibility by The Marketing Nut

Pam MooreFrequent best-of honoree Pam Moore explains the importance of the trust factor in encouraging brand engagement and offers 10 tips for increasing your social trust factor, such as developing a consistent online brand persona, hanging out with the “right” people in your business social networks, and taking the time to cultivate relationships.

Social Media Marketing – 10 Inspiring Infographics by Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas shares some interesting social media statistics (e.g., Tumblr is now attracting over 90 million unique visitors every month; StumbleUpon drives over 50% of all social network traffic) as well as helpful how-to’s (e.g., How to Twitter and LinkedIn Boot Camp) in this intriguing collection of infographics.

How to be a rock star on 8 social media platforms by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS

Kent LewisKent Lewis packs an incredible amount of useful information into this concise post, which outlines tactics for marketing success, illustrated with real-world examples, for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, SlideShare, Quora and Foursquare.

Don’t Let Legal Keep You Out of Social by Social Media Marketing Magazine

Glen GilmoreGlen Gilmore reviews some high-profile examples of social media legal cases, which, he writes, “have largely been related to cases of egregious misconduct.” He then explains the basic legal and regulatory risks associated with social media, and presents a plan to minimize such risks in business social media use.

Busting Social Media Myths and Avoiding Common Mistakes

Five Social Media Myths You Need to Know by frogloop

Allyson KapinCommenting on Facebook’s dominance and huge market reach that, “while it maybe true that your organization needs a better Facebook strategy, it’s also important that you dig a little deeper into social media stats,” Allyson Kapin debunks five social media myths. Though her focus is on fundraising and social media use by non-profit organizations, much of the material here applies more broadly.

Beware Best Practices, They Can Kill Productivity, Innovation and Growth – Adopt Facebook, Linked-in, Twitter by Forbes

Adam HartungFor those executives who still block or limit access for their employees to social media sites and mobile devices, Adam Hartung reminds readers that personal computers were once looked at as productivity destroyers (PCs were viewed as toys that lacked the robustness of mainframe applications by some CIOs back in the 80s) and warns that “best practices” (e.g., “We need to control employee access to information” and “We need to keep employees focused on their job, without distractions”) are a dangerous myth.

Four Common Social Media Mishaps by iMedia Connection

Erik DeckersErik Deckers advises against, among other social media faux paus, socialcasting, relying on a single network, or, interestingly, “Putting a B2B company on Facebook or a B2C company on LinkedIn…People go to Facebook to chat with family and friends, not to buy industrial adhesives. People go to LinkedIn to connect with people who can help them do their jobs better, not share their love of your white chocolate macadamia nut brownies.”

Ten Myths About Social Networking For Business by Forbes

Neal RodriguezNeal Rodriguez provides “a comprehensive guide to social networking misconceptions—each accompanied by a tangible action plan that you can take right now,” such as “Myth 4: You have to spend hours a day on Twitter” (he recommends using Tweetchats—not a bad idea, but not right for everyone).

B2B Social Media Guides

Top social media platforms for businesses by iMedia Connection

Kent Lewis outlines the benefits of social media for B2B businesses, the challenges such vendors face in social media, the essential elements of a B2B social media program, and the best platforms to utilize (blogging, LinkedIn and Twitter are obvious; Facebook and Quora somewhat more questionable).

Turn B2B Buying Into a Social Experience by iMedia Connection

Tony ZambitoTony Zambito outlines the changes social media has brought to the B2B buying process and identifies four areas where buyer expectations have changed that B2B marketers need to be aware of and address. Another outstanding post from Tony is The New Social Buyer Ecosystem, which delves into the concept of social Buyer Circles and their implications for marketers in engaging social buyers in the B2B realm.

YouTube Tips and Tactics

YouTube etiquette for 2011 by iMedia Connection

Daisy WhitneyDaisy Whitney provides excellent tips for making the most of YouTube, such as paying special attention to the crucial first 15 seconds of every video you produce; entering your keywords in rank order; and uploading a custom thumbnail image for each video rather than relying on the YouTube default selection.

6 Best Practices For Small Business YouTube Marketing by OPEN Forum

Todd WassermanTodd Wasserman shares advice from entrepreneurs who’ve been successful with YouTube marketing on best practices for the platform, including buying ads, finding your niche, using technology such as Hot Spots to test the effectiveness of your videos, and tracking ROI.

YouTube It; You Rank for It – Improve Your YouTube Rankings by iMedia Connection

Chris Adams of gShift LabsChris Adams of gShift Labs explains how to optimize video rankings in YouTube, the factors that affect ranking (beyond the obvious) and the importance of analyzing and acting upon YouTube metrics regularly.

Search and Social

When search meets social by Econsultancy

Nick JonesDue to the growing importance of social signals in search results, Nick Jones writes that “2011 marks the year when social media has shifted from being nice to essential…Social elements play a huge part in the traffic generated, but also…citations and “votes” in the form of Tweets and Likes go a long way to indicating to search engines that this content has value and deserves to rank for relevant keywords.”

How Social Media Affects Content Relevance in Search by Mashable

Shane Snow explains why and how Google and Bing are incorporating social signals into the search algorithms, how these changes may help newer businesses, and which previously helpful SEO tactics are now much less important. The key to success in this new world is creating highly sharable content and building a network of influencers who will share it.

Social Media Monitoring and ROI Measurement

10 Measures of Social Media ROI for Your Brand by SocialTimes

Neil GlassmanNeil Glassman presents his “ten measures of social media marketing ROI,” though ROI purists may quibble with some of his entries, e.g., raising the quality and quantity of job applicants by creating a “social culture.” But it’s an intriguing list nonetheless.

Forget Social Media ROI by ClickZ

Heidi CohenThe brilliant Heidi Cohen contends that only a third of companies are attempting to track social media ROI; outlines three reasons why such calculations are difficult (e.g., “Social media interaction tends to happen outside of the purchase process, either before or after”); and presents as alternatives five social media metrics she believes really do matter.

Social Media ROI for Me-Too-ers versus Innovators by SocialSteve’s Blog
***** 5 STARS

Steve GoldnerSteve Goldner uses a graphical social media activity scale to explain the differences in tactics and related ROI measurements between “Me-Too’ers” (focused on basic activities like setting up social profiles and adding sharing buttons to their websites) and “Innovators” (integrated social media efforts, formalized social media relationships).

Things We Should Ask The ROI Question About Before Social Media by UnMarketing

Scott StrattenScott Stratten makes a concise yet blistering argument against obsessing over social media ROI, noting that social media is held “to a higher level of judgment than most things in business,” then questioning the ROI of things like meetings, logo-emblazoned coffee mugs and employee commute time.

5 Ways to Measure Social Media by ClickZ

Ron JonesFrequent best-of contributor Ron Jones recommends measuring a number of different metrics within categories like Awareness/Exposure (the most basic level), Influence, and Engagement (e.g., number of shares, mentions, comments and retweets).

The ROI of Social Media ROI by iMedia Connection

Scot WheelerScot Wheeler presents a helpful diagram for evaluating social media while also noting that “ROI is not always the best way to evaluate the value of social media engagement to an organization…Often, when management asks for the ROI on social media, what they are really asking for is the value of social media engagement to the business.” He then describes the usefulness of awareness, buzz, reach and sentiment as measures of social media value. Also worth checking out is Scot’s follow-up to this post, The Four Principles of Social ROI Measurement, in which he contends that “the accumulation of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ and the generation of engagement are not ends in themselves.  These are tactics which are meant to prime a growing and engaged users for eventual transactions, but which are no more directly measurable in terms of revenues generated than is PR, print, TV or radio advertising.”

Explaining “social media ROI” AGAIN. And again. And… again. by The Brand Builder Blog

Olivier BlanchardOlivier Blanchard serves up an entertaining and informative rant about the continued inability or refusal of many social media professionals to explain the ROI of social media, writing “As annoying and curious as it was, back in 2009, when so many so-called ‘experts’ and ‘gurus’ couldn’t figure out how to explain, much less determine the ROI of anything relating to social media, it is inexcusable today.” He explains the basics of social media ROI measurement, though conceding in the end that “Not all social media activity needs to drive ROI.”

14 Top Tracking Tools For Your Social Media Stats by Abnormal Marketing

Fiona McEachranFiona McEachran takes a look at 14 social media monitoring tools, ranging in price from free to “don’t ask,” including Trackur, Webfluenz and BackType.

Social Media Facts, Stats and Research

INFOGRAPHIC: How Much Does Social Media Really Cost? by Scribbal
***** 5 STARS

Mariel Loveland presents an outstanding infographic detailing the internal and external costs of social media marketing along with the expected savings or return in various business areas, drawing on both statistical and anecdotal data.

The Business Impact of Social Media [Infographic] by ReadWriteWeb

Klint FinleyKlint Finley reports on research regarding social media use in Forture 500 companies covering priorities, success measures, rationale, and brief profiles of successful social media use in big companies (Coca Cola, jetBlue, Dell, Red Bull and others).

Facebook, Twitter Shares Outpace Other Social Buttons by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Laurie SullivanLaurie Sullivan highlights research from BrightEdge showing that “Web site pages displaying the Twitter share button get seven times the social media mentions compared with those that do not…(yet) nearly half of the largest 10,000 sites on the Web still don’t display any kind of social sharing links or buttons.”

10 Intriguing Insights on the State of Social Media and Blogging by Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas (again) summarizes 10 key insights from Nielsen research on social media, among them: Facebook dominates the “time spent online” metric—Facebook users collectively spend three times as many minutes with Facebook as they do with Yahoo, and four times as many as with Google. Nearly a quarter of total online time is spent with social networks and blogs. And women outnumber men on eight of the top 10 social networks—but guys are in the majority on LinkedIn.

Social Media Bigger And More Influential Than Ever, Reveals Q3 Nielsen Report [INFOGRAPHIC] by All Twitter

Shea BennettShea Bennett shares more takeaways from Neilsen research, such as that “40% of social media users access content from their mobile handsets,” with users over the age of 55 driving much of this growth. Social networks and blogs are visited by more than three-quarters of Internet users. And Tumblr is among the fastest-growing networks, tripling its user base in 2011.

Social Media Report: Q3 2011 by Nielsen Research

Want to draw your own conclusions from the research cited by Jeff and Shea above? Here’s the source.

9 Social Media Infographics You Must See by DreamGrow

Mart ProomMart Prööm presents a fascinating collection of infographics, with stats and findings ranging from the percentage of U.S. adults who use social media every day (65%) and the top buyers of social media monitoring tools (43% are social media managers, 19% are agency professionals) to the leading social networks for small business (78% are on Twitter, 75% on Facebook) and a simple process for creating a social media strategy.

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Best SEO Guides, Tips and Resources of 2010

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Ranking well in organic search results becomes more imperative every day, particularly in the B2B world. According to recent research, 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say that when they’re ready to buy, they’ll find you. 93% of these decision makers use search to begin the buying process. And it isn’t just low-level minions conducting searches at the behest of higher-ups; 63% of C-level executives say they first turn to mainstream search engines to locate information.

Best SEO Guides of 2010That makes optimization more important than ever, and leads to questions like: How can SEO be used in online reputation management? What common SEO mistakes are critical to avoid? How important are footer links to SEO? How can PDF content be optimized for search? How does the introduction of Google Instant change SEO tactics? What are the crucial tasks to include on site audit and pre-launch SEO checklists?

Find the answers to those questions and many more here in more than two dozen of the best guides to SEO tips, strategies, techniques and tactics of the past year.

SEO Basics

SEO: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners by KISS Metrics

Neil Patel provides an excellent and largely non-technical guide to SEO success, from keyword research and content development through meta tags, search-friendly URLs and link building.

Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide 2010- Plain Speak on SEO by WorkingPoint

For those without the time, inclination or webmaster jargon knowledge to read Google’s 32-page SEO Starter Guide, this blog post nets it out: choose the right keywords (based on your market knowledge, not so much what keyword tools tell you), optimize your site, pursue quality links, and unless you have such expertise internally—hire professional help.

SEO 101: Defining the long tail by Conversation Marketing

Ian Lurie lucidly explains the meaning of “long tail” in search with simple and compelling graphics showing that while individual “head” terms may get management salivating for top rank position, it’s the less sexy but more specific 3-word and longer queries that collectively generate more traffic and a much higher conversion rate.

What Is SEO, Really? by SEO Book

After providing an explanation of SEO, brief history of the discipline and recommendations on how to learn modern SEO techniques, Peter Da Vanzo concludes that SEO isn’t only about rankings—but it isn’t just about money either.

You WANT Rankings, But What Do You Really NEED? by Search Engine Guide

Frequent best-of contributor Stoney deGeyter elaborates on the “key components to a well-rounded optimization campaign,” including keyword research, website architecture, copywriting, on-page optimization, analytics and more.

Advanced SEO Tactics, Techniques and Considerations

The dangers of ranking No. 1 on Google by iMediaConnection
***** 5 Stars
Drew Hubbard quantifies both the value and risk of high rankings. On the value side, getting your site ranked #1 on both Google and Yahoo/Bing means you’ll attract (on average) 40% of ALL organic search clicks for that term. On the risk side, however, carefully choose which terms you really want to rank for. People search for different reasons. Ranking highly for an informational—rather than transactional—can end up drawing a ton of traffic to your site and putting a big load on your servers for no real business benefit. Ranking for high-conversion keywords is far more important (i.e. profitable) than just showing up well for high-traffic terms. Still, considering all of the worries that might keep an SEO pro up at night, this one is probably pretty low on the list.

How to optimize page Titles and improve click through rates by Web SEO Analytics

Vasilis Vryniotis runs through the basics of optimizing titles for search: make them brief, descriptive, attractive and branded, with the most important keywords up front.

25 tips to skyrocket your search engine rankings by

Karan Singhal offers 25 tips that may not “skyrocket” your site’s rankings but should help, among them: understanding your target market and how they search, using internal linking with anchor text, utilizing keyword-rich URLs, and keeping your site’s content fresh.

SEO Ranking Factors - HubSpot12 Amazing SEO Infographics by HubSpot Blog
***** 5 Stars
Kipp Bodnar compiles an outstanding, highly bookmarkable set of SEO infographics suitable for printing out and posting in a highly visible location. Examples include the SEO Order of Operations (grab and include with the post?), SEO vs. PPC stats, and the ROI of SEO.

Search Marketing in a B2B World – PPC and SEO by SlideShare

Magnus Nilsson guides b2b marketers through search optimization in this online presentation, from recognizing the differences between how buyers search at home versus at the office, and how different types of business buyers search, to using analytics to measure what’s really important.

Do You Make Any of These 10 Simple SEO Mistakes? by KISS Metrics

Kristi Hines details 10 common SEO mistakes and how to correct them, such as focusing on link quantity over quality and not creating compelling, linkworthy content.

SEO Raises Awareness and Reputation Better than PPC by MarketingSherpa Blog

Adam T. Sutton reports on MarketingSherpa research showing that more marketers view SEO as “very effective” than PPC at increasing brand/product awareness (42% to 34%), improving brand/product reputation (29% to 19%) and improving PR (27% to 6%). For many if not most companies, PPC and SEO should both be part of the marketing mix; but it’s important to recognize their differing and often complementary strengths.

The Business Of Burying Internet Search Results by NPR

Noting that “The Internet can be a hostile place, with powerful companies paying handsome sums to hide negative content in Google search results…Unseen battles are waged every day to protect and destroy brands and reputations,” Peter O’Dowd demonstrates how companies and political figures are turning to content marketing and SEO to push negative mentions of them off the front page of search results.

The Problem with Footer Links in SEO by WordStream Internet Marketing Blog

Lior Levin writes that footer links generally don’t carry much weight with search engines: “Since the webmaster has heavily devalued the link, it only makes sense that the search engines would as well.” While footer links have valid purposes, important links should be placed more highly, and prominently, on the page.

We’ll Stop Screaming “Relevance” When You Start Listening by Search News Central

Gabriella Sannino demonstrates the centrality of relevance to search results by stepping through the process of optimizing a single page, from keyword targeting and meta tags to content development and link-building through guest posts or bylined articles.

Google Webmaster Tools - Internal Link GraphThe Art and Science of SEO Site Audits [Best of SEW 2010 #10] by Search Engine Watch
***** 5 Stars
Adam Audette outlines an extensive checklist and process for performing SEO site audits, including on-page and off-page factors, reporting, and audit tools.

Twitter & Facebook links affect SEO on Google and Bing by Web SEO Analytics

Another noteworthy post from Vasilis Vryniotis, this one detailing how search engine are using social signals to impact rankings and what type of information the search engines attempt to glean from links in social media.

Fundamentals of PDF Optimisation for Search by Bruce Clay

Explaining that “Properties to a PDF are what meta tags are to a web page,” Aaron Egan demonstrates how to use text, properties, tags and navigation to make PDF documents as search-friendly as possible.

The SEOmoz Internal SEO Pre-Launch Checklist by The Daily SEO Blog

Aaron Wheeler outlines critical (e.g., title tag, URL structure, image alt tags) and “worth double-checking” (robots.txt file, H1 tags, images optimized) SEO tasks to complete prior to launch. Danny Dover elaborates on this SEO “cheat sheet” in the accompanying video.

Google Instant and SEO

Google Instant: Fewer Changes to SEO than the Average Algo Update by The Daily SEO Blog

Rand Fishkin pulls data from a variety of sources to show that the introduction of Google Instant had only subtle impacts on search behavior.

Google Instant Results for Toyota6 Ways to Ensure Better Rankings in Google Instant by Search Engine Journal

Kristi Hines here offers a half-dozen tips for ranking better in Google Instant, though most are just good solid SEO practice regardless, such as thinking like searchers, keeping your online reputation clean and producing content in a variety of formats—not just text.

Google: Complexity is Good! by SEO Book
***** 5 Stars
Aaron Wall posts an entertaining and informative rant on how the increasing complexity of Google search (incorporating personalization, social signals, video results, Google Instant, etc.) has also led to a proliferation of bugs. A quote that every SEO should print out in a large font and tape up on his or her wall: “Sometimes you don’t rank because you screwed up. But sometimes you don’t rank because Google screwed up.”

SEO Planning for 2011 by Search Engine Watch

Eric Enge reviews some of the most impactful changes for search optimization in 2010 (e.g., May Day, Caffeine, Instant) and identifies four key factors SEO practitioners will need to focus on for search success in 2011.

SEO for Bing

SEO Tips for Bing by MarketingProfs

With Bing now accounting for roughly 30% of organic search in the U.S., John Pring provides timely advice on how to optimize for this search engine and differences from Google; while backlinks, pagerank and fresh content matter less to Bing, many of the same factors (keyword research and density, an XML sitemap) apply.

SEO for Bing: Don’t Ignore It by Search Engine Watch

Stating that “Google is absolutely watching Bing’s every move, and search marketers should be doing the same thing,” Adam Audette predicts that Bing’s market share will grow and provides several general (e.g., clean code, quality content) and specific (use XML sitemaps and keep them up to date) tips on optimizing for the #2 search engine.

Google Webmaster Tools and SEO

Beginner’s Guide to Google Webmaster Tools by KISS Metrics

Neil Patel (again) provides an outstanding primer on the functions and use of Google Webmaster Tools, from adding your site and uploading an XML site map through sitelinks, settings, identifying your best external links and keywords, and much more.

Google Webmaster Tools 101 by ClickZ

Ron Jones explains how to use Google Webmaster Tools to diagnose SEO problems and make improvements in different areas (HTML, internal links, keywords) to optimize overall website performance.

Related Post

40 (of the) Top SEO Guides, Tips and Resources of 2010 (So Far)

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Best Web Analytics Tools and Tips of 2009

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

There’s a great scene from the original Cannonball Run in which one of drivers hops into his Ferrari convertible, rips the rearview mirror off of the windshield, tosses it out and then says to his startled co-driver, “What is behind us—does not matter.” In the world of analytics, all information is, by its nature, backward looking (you can’t measure what hasn’t happened yet). But it isn’t the historical measures themselves which are of interest to analysts, rather the trends they reveal and path(s) forward they illuminate. In short, to be valuable, analytics must be actionable; they should provide hard data to clarify what you should keep doing, what you should stop doing, and what you should do differently.

Learn more about creating custom reports in Google Analytics, improving site conversion rates, interesting tools that extend the capabilities of Analytics and more here in some of the best articles and blog posts on web analytics from the past year.

Google Analytics 101, Part 1 by Search Engine Watch

Frequent best-of contributor Ron Jones provides an excellent introduction to Google Analytics for newbies, and even intermediate users may learn something new here.

Eyes on the Prize with Custom Reports by Google Analytics Blog

Sebastian Tonkin provides step-by-step instructions for creating custom reports within Google, such as a report showing the conversion rate for visitors from a specific geography or traffic source.

Web Analytics and Segmentation for Better Conversion Optimization by SEOmoz

A detailed tutorial on using the Advanced Segments Tool in Google Analytics to gain insights into measures such as differences in conversion rates based on content viewed: sure, that popular blog post drew a lot of traffic, but was it productive traffic? Advanced Segments can help answer such questions.

6 Tools Every Google Analytics User Should Have by ROI Revolution

For technical analysts, Shawn Purtell reviews six—actually seven—Firefox extensions, Greasemonkey scripts and other tools that enhance the functionality of Google Analytics. One example is Social Media Metrics, a tools which “allows you to see social media and link bait statistics for your specific pages.”

Is Yahoo Analytics Better than Google’s? by ECommerce Guide

David Needle reports results of a CMS Watch study which gave higher marks to Yahoo’s analytics tool in a couple of areas, including higher default pageview limits for larger enterprises, and the ability to access and view raw data, which would “let you continue to maintain a historical record instead of starting over” if you ever move to a more robust paid analytics platform.

Polaris Puts Google Analytics On Your Desktop by I’m Just Sayin’

A brief but helpful review of Polaris, a free Adobe Air application that delivers eight of the most popular Google Analytics reports straight to your desktop without logging in. A slick, quick way to stay current on your web traffic stats.

New AdWords ID Data in Google Analytics API by Google Analytics Blog

Alex Lucas explains how to combine data from Google Analytics and Google AdWords to “get a (more) detailed picture of the performance of…ad creatives and keywords.”

New Google Analytics Features Can Help You Track Your Social Media Success & Failures by Social Conversations

Li Evans showcases several new features recently added or planned for Google Analytics, such as new goal tracking types, custom variables, mobile apps tracking and custom alerts.

100 Ways To Measure Social Media by MediaPost Social Media Insider

What metrics can be tracked in social media? David Berkowitz offers up his list of  “100 thought-starters.” Some are easy (e.g. numbers of fans and followers), others are more challenging and may require more sophisticated tools, but it’s a great list for generating ideas.

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