Are you communicating with your audience – and is it still working for you?

Can you recall the words in this acclaimed hit by one of the most famous singer song-writers of the sixties – Bob Dylan?

The times… they are a-changin!   

The lyrics to this song captured the social and political upheaval of the ‘60’s and if you listen to the rest of the lyrics they are as relevant now in the social space that dominates our world today – as they were then – just look at the opening verse!

The times they are a changin

 

Come gather ’round people wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’ then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin’…

Well times are a-changin’ – are you??

The world is now connected in ways we could never have imagined ten or even five years ago. Information systems and the emergence of the Internet and online technologies have opened up ways of communicating with your audience and given you the opportunity to speak to your customer base in a way that has not been experienced until now!

Are you taking advantage of these technologies to speak to your customers?

This massive advance in technology and shift in communication portals has literally opened the doors to millions of customers who now shop online – what does this mean for you?

This revolution in technology affects us in more ways than we could ever imagine… as it not only changes the way we communicate, it also changes the way we position our business in front of our customers.

You need to be involved in the continually changing, evolving world of online marketing and actively learning, implementing and taking part in these new paradigms that are leading the changes.

for the times… they are a changing…

Think back to what your marketing strategy looked like ten years, five years, or even 12 months ago!

How were you talking to your customers then?

Are you still communicating with them the same way?
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Are you making these big content marketing mistakes?

Recent research reports all indicate that marketers are struggling with a number of elements around content marketing.

Many are spouting the old “Content is King!” adage but a large number are stalling when it comes to measuring results or understanding what is working and what is not.

The reasons for this confusion become very clear when we dig below the surface of a number of content marketing strategies.

So many of the fundamentals are missing that many brands are wasting their time and money.

Successful content strategy is not just about publishing blog posts. The requirements are a lot more complex than that so I have put together an overview of the most common mistakes I come across when reviewing and auditing websites.

Here are my top 8 content marketing mistakes in no particular order:

Content Marketing Mistakes

1.    Publishing is not frequent enough

You have a company blog and you have committed to creating and publishing content on a regular basis. All runs well for the first few months and then everyone who has signed on to write gets busy.

And one of the first things that gets left behind is the blog writing.

Your site drops from a couple of posts a week to maybe a monthly post and then you realize further down the track that no one has published for a couple of months.

Freshness and frequency are big ranking signals for Google (and let’s face it Google has more than 90% market share in New Zealand and Australia for search).

All of the momentum in content visibility that your early enthusiasm gained is slowly slipping away.

If we look at the potential of regular posting with my SEO hat on (and of course assuming the content is relevant and good quality), let’s say you have committed to just two 500 word posts per week.

That’s 4,000 keyword focused words a month and 8 new pages on your website.

Yes, that’s 48,000 keyword relevant words in your first year and 96 new pages on your site

Now take a look at your main competitors.

Can they compete with this amount of value?

2.    You are not delivering value

This one involves quite a major shift in mindset.

Not that long ago business talked about protecting IP. Business ensured that their methodologies or practices were kept away from any public forum out of a fear that competitors would use the information and take a slice of the pie.

Non-disclosure agreements anyone?

Well, the game has changed and those who understand how the new socially motivated consumer and business operates, are giving value on a consistent basis. Look at any of the major tech based startups in the past few years and see how much value they are sharing.

Step by step tutorials, cheat-sheets, free templates, white papers, training through webinars, free versions of browser extensions and online tools and much, much more.
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The Best of SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media and CRO – 2012

2012 has been an incredible year for those of us who work online or who have an interest in search, social or any of the other variations in web strategy.

SEO in particular has seen upheaval after upheaval and Google has been instrumental in changing the way web marketing works or doesn’t as the case may be.

Anyone close to SEO will have watched as Google rolled out Panda update after Panda update, threw in a Page Layout update, an Exact Match Domain update, sent out link warnings and banished sites to the outer reaches, and generally shook  things up to such an extent that only the foolhardy would even contemplate manipulative techniques, black hat or webspam.

Best of SEO in 2012

2012 was also a year when social media really crossed over to the general business population in a big way. Even here in New Zealand most SMEs made the leap and invested time or money in their social media presence. As always the big players – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Youtube made frequent and significant changes to their platforms. The result of all this flux in social media means that it is essential keep your finger on the social platform pulse the whole time.

The big winners in 2012 were without a doubt content marketing and blogging and this is mostly down to Google’s efforts. The benefits of an integrated approach to content marketing, technical SEO compliance and social media authority have grown significantly as the year has progressed. Any business that is not considering a content based approach in 2013 will struggle to remain competitive online. (There, said it!)

Midge has done a great job this year in finding every week the very best content published on SEO, social media, content strategy and conversion rate optimisation and has delivered in our Weekend Wrap a combination of thought leadership, tutorials, opinion pieces and even some humour.

We hope you have found the posts educational, inspiring and thought provoking – we certainly have!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Weekend Wrap up on the right here – we won’t spam… ever!

And while you are here please feel free to share with the social media buttons at the top – many thanks!

Here is my roundup of the very best of the Weekend Wrap – enjoy!

SEO

The future of SEO in 2013

Start with this great post from Stoked SEO who ask a number of the most influential SEO writers what they think will happen with Google and search in 2013.

Some of our favourite SEO people here: Jon Cooper, Jason Acidre, John Doherty, Julie Joyce, Paddy Moogan, Will Critchlow and more. Great insights!

Breaking Down the Mormon SEO Strategy

This post from Distilled was a bit of a surprise.

Who would have thought that a church would focus on an intensive SEO campaign and that they would be competing for phrases like Jesus, Church or scriptures.

Fascinating stuff and I really like the comment asking about the Mormon Church’s “conversion” rate! 🙂

An Open Discussion on the Current State of Link Building

This post stood out not only for the calibre of the SEO thought leaders taking part in the discussion and the quality of the information but also for the unique structure of the post and its informal concept.

Link building has definitely changed substantially in 2012.

We Can Do Better Than This

This is one of the standout posts of the year.

Jonathon Colman put together this epic piece which challenges many SEO writers to up their game with their content and to be more creative and inspirational with what they are producing and with the conversations they are having online.

2012 Year In Review: Important Shifts In Google SEO

This post by Tom Schmitz on Search Engine Land is a nice summary of some of the more important SEO changes from 2012.

He covers online reputation and trust, Google and webmaster notifications, over-optimisation penalties, Panda, Penguin, Pirate updates and lots more.
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Weekend Wrap 17 – Growth hackers, top social media tools and how to increase blog traffic

A brilliant line up this week and we kick off with an “oldie but a goodie” from Rand Fishkin – an incredible resource for bloggers to tuck away, followed by another great post about “growth hackers” from Distilled and what constitutes an effective SEO strategy.

And Forbes have a post which looks at the 20 most social CMOs in the Fortune 100 – surprising how difficult it was to find 20 who actually use social media. How does that work?

Also see what happens when you take some of the top SEO  industry players and debate the current state of link building  in an informal setting – very interesting and a fun post for those of you who follow SEO – there’s a few gems here!

And also from the Social Media and Content Marketing section we have Content,  Confusion, Clarity – a look at content and SEO from Search Engine Watch, a post from Mike Morgan demonstrating benefits and the dangers of using social media tools (includes a few horror stories) and the epic post of the week is from Jonathon Colman – a brilliant piece which questions content quality in the SEO space – must read this one…and lots more to keep you up to date and up late at night!

Photo this week Bobo the alpaca relaxing in the carrot grass!

Alpaca at Muriwai farm

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic (Updated 2012)

This one is from Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz fame and comes from WAY BACK in January. Amazing how all of this is still totally relevant despite the huge updates by Google almost every month this year. This is one to keep as a reference – put as many of these into practice as you can and note how effective the copywriting and structure of the post is..

SEO’s Are Growth Hackers

John Doherty of Distilled adds another great post about “growth hackers”. In his words growth hacking is all about data driven marketing and relates to not only growth but also customer retention. Being creative, implementation, measurement, repetition – as he says these are all part of a well executed SEO strategy. A good read!

An Open Discussion on the Current State of Link Building

Get half a dozen SEO thought leaders together (online) and get them debating the current state of link building. The informality of the structure offers real insights – five starting points are given then it is up to the participants to share their opinions and the conversation develops from there. Great idea!

What [insert random topic] taught me about SEO

This is the lighter post for the week. If you consume a lot of SEO blog posts like we do you will identify with what this post is poking fun at. “What Whitney Houston taught me about SEO?”, “What waterless urinals taught me about SEO” and many more gems that should have gone nowhere near the publish button!
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Weekend Wrap 16 – Google 2012 Review, Small Business Link Building, Fake Social Media Experts

So much insightful information this week it was hard to choose – but we think we selected some of the very best.

Starting off with a 2012 review of all Google updates which will definitely inform and a WordPress theme change SEO check list which is invaluable.

If  you are a small business owner looking for a link building strategy that works – you can read it here.  Also an epic post you will  want to tuck away and read over and over again from Jason Acidre – it’s everything you need to know about inbound strategy and is a fantastic resource.

Our light-hearted post this week gets stuck into social media experts – it’s very amusing and we also feature a post from one of our favourite bloggers Mark Schaefer – he shares his wisdom on great titles for blogposts – always valuable and interesting.

Photo this week – Okiroto Stream Muriwai Beach

Okiroto Stream west coast Muriwai

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

Wow! 2012 has been a huge year for Google and SEO and this blow by blow summary covers Panda, Penguin, Google notifications, trust and reputation, exact match domains, the Pirate update and a lot more. This yearly summary is in early like the malls and their Christmas decorations.
In this post 5 top US SEO/content strategy experts are asked about the increasing role of content marketing in SEO, measurement of content marketing results, the cost to business and some great examples of companies getting the combination very right. Some very useful insights.
This one is perfectly timed – we are gearing up to move to a new WordPress theme ourselves. Distilled always gives great value and this is no exception. A nice, easy to follow check-list to make sure you don’t lose ground when you move to a new theme. Watch this space for our new design over the coming weeks.

There is always a ton of stuff around link building when you are a big industry player like Kissmetrics or SEOmoz but often these tactics just do not work for a small business. A small local business is unlikely to have the budget, time resources or social reach for a combination of epic content, infographics and linkable, shareable content that goes viral. This post gets real about what works for the little guys.

Weekend Wrap 15 – Google Insider Secrets, Evil Link Building, Epic Content

Some real goodies this week from our search for the best around the Web!

See what Google are  really doing (!!) in this in-depth interview with an ex-member of the elite search quality team, the current state of SEO from those who know and where to from here… how to rid your e-commerce website of those errors that hinder your ranking, a humorous, refreshing post on evil link building methods, a look at the views of 35 powerhouse social media personalities on how to be influential on Facebook, a great post on how epic content or long-form posts in content marketing get big rewards and much, much more – plenty here for your week’s reading to keep you up to date.

A little bucolic scene this week – visiting family enjoying feeding the alpacas

Alpacas eating from buckets

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

What better way to get insights on what Google is really doing than to interview an ex-member of Matt Cutts’ search quality team. The first interview caused a bit of a storm with Google saying that this ex-Googler didn’t really work for them and disputed some of his claims. This follow-up is just as interesting and contradicts some of Google’s public inferences.

Top SEO Tips Straight From the Industry Experts [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some of the biggest names in SEO share on Hubspot their insights and opinions on what is the current state of search engine optimisation as well as giving advice on the best approaches to take. Insights from Rand Fishkin, Darmesh Shah, Stephanie Chang and Greg Shuey.

This post on Kissmetrics is a must-read for anyone working with an ecommerce website. These errors are almost the default setting for many ecommerce sites when they are first built and they will seriously hinder your chances of ranking well on Google.

And here is one just for fun. Peter Attia has put together a follow-up of 9 nasty ways to build links (and recommends you don’t do any of them). Good to see someone having a bit of a laugh when so much SEO commentary is dead serious.

Weekend Wrap 14 – Creative Link Building, Web Copy Mastery, Social Signals

This Weekend Wrap brings more on building links from some incredibly creative people down to the foolhardy who still think buying links is a good thing…

This ties in nicely with the SEOMoz post on how to drive more visitors and more links through social media, and the heights people will go to for the most sought after link – along with some good advice on SEO practices to keep you on the right side of Google.

Everyone wants to write great copy and this week we have an excellent post which will definitely show you how – fantastic examples on getting it right and getting it wrong – a must read…

A very interesting read that digs down into the psychology of online behaviour and how it relates to blog comments, plus the mother of all posts – a whopping 7,000 words  that you should definitely make time to read and learn from this masterpiece that demonstrates effective web copy.

Lots more excellent material to broaden your marketing portfolio and learn all that is new in the online space.

Another glorious day at Muriwai Beach today – shot taken looking north towards Kaipara Heads.
Muriwai Beach looking North

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

Fantastic post chock full of creative ways to get links – “I sailed a boat, ran a half-marathon and climbed a mountain all on the same day for a link”. Innovative ideas from many of the best SEOs in the world.

 

Love this! It would be very funny except it is, unfortunately, quite true. “Why don’t we just buy some more links?” on the image is pretty good but the actual 7 phrases are worth a look.

 

SEOmoz piece that gets down to the nitty gritty of how social media affects SEO outcomes with analysis of social signals as well as insights on how social media can drive more visitors, more time on site and of course more links.

 

In the post Panda, post Penguin world it is ironic that SEOs have to look like they are not doing any SEO. This is a really insightful post on the important SEO elements that will keep you the right side of Google’s guidelines while still improving search performance.

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Weekend Wrap 11 – Google Disavow Tool, Penguin Proof, Genius Marketing!

In the Weekend Wrap this week the big buzz in SEO is about Google’s new Link Disavow tool. We have a great step by step guide but questions remain about Google’s motives for offering this feature and whether you should risk using it. Other featured posts include 10 innovative ideas that have changed marketing forever from Hubspot, Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz, takes a whiteboard session explaining why link building is becoming link earning, an epic post from Ana Hoffman that teaches you how to promote your blog posts like there is no tomorrow and much more.

This week’s photo – a beautiful Clivia Grandiflora in our garden.

Clivia flower

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

Google Link Disavow Tool: The Complete Guide

The big news in SEO circles this week was the release of the Google Disavow tool. The debate rages about whether the tool is simply a “super snitch” technique so Google can identify and punish spammy sites or whether it really will be used to combat negative SEO. We will watch early data with interest.

Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz takes this Whiteboard Friday and explains why link building for SEO has shifted more toward link earning. As a thought leader in SEO there are not very many people as influential as Rand so it pays to listen to what he has to say.

5 Monthly Website Maintenance Tips for Small Businesses

This post is a great starting point for keeping your website healthy and fresh. I am always surprised (shocked) to see how many people invest a ton of time and money into their site then leave out of date, irrelevant content live on their site. Keep it updated, keep it interesting and keep it technically sound – good tips here.
Really like this post from Jeremy Morgan (no relation? Mike?). He talks about how to make sure your online strategies are not hurting your online business and adds some smart ideas around not being a jerk, not having a potty mouth, admitting that you don’t know everything and a few others that you don’t usually see in SEO advice posts.

Weekend Wrap – SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing Highlights

Every week we come across a huge amount of amazing content from the rapidly changing world of Social Media, the almost daily upheavals of SEO and the incredible creativity of the Web’s Content Marketing Strategists.

We find the very best posts for you on a weekly basis to save you time and filter out the noise on the web so you can get the best and most up to date information for your business.

We welcome you to call in on a weekly basis and see the valuable goodies the week brings.

First up though – a pic of our old Magnolia tree reminding us that Spring is not far away with its beautiful pink buds.

Enjoy the posts below…

Magnolia tree in flower – Muriwai Beach

Here are a selection of the best articles we have found from top bloggers, marketers, social media strategists and search engine optimisation specialists.

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

Nine Articles for Serious WordPress Publishers

If you’re a WordPress fan (or not) you won’t want to miss these nine articles showing the value of an online platform that does convert!

How to Conduct an On-Page SEO Site Audit

It’s one of the first steps any good SEO consultant will do before beginning a project and this detailed post talks you through the crucial steps of a site audit.

Google Will Penalize Sites Repeatedly Accused Of Copyright Infringement

Beware the latest penalty from Google that could see your site taking a dive in search results and find out why it’s dubbed “The Emanuel Update.”

How Google Finds Unnatural Links to Your Website

Are you keeping the right company?  When it comes to Links Google has warned us… hang around in the wrong neighbourhood and you will surely get into trouble!
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Is Social Media The Next Big Bang?

I am currently engrossed in the most amazing book by Bill Bryson, some of you will probably have read it already – “A Short History of Nearly Everything” for which he won the prestigious Aventis Prize in 2004 for best general science book. It’s a remarkable book and I believe the world would be a better place if it was mandatory in every school library.

I know I would certainly have taken an interest in science if this book was around in my day and had been readily available to break down the mysteries of atoms and photons.

Bill Bryson is a gifted story-teller and he presents the study of science through this book in an articulate, friendly and light-hearted way and more importantly, in a language everyone can understand.

The most curious thing happened when I was reading this book that had a profound effect on me.  Now I’ve only read the first few chapters so far but no matter what page I turned I couldn’t stop thinking about the incredible similarities between The Big Bang Theory and the arrival of Social Media… it’s quite extraordinary.

Night lights of US West Coast

What about this analogy?

The Big Bang Theory and social media both appeared as uncontrollable events, a force majeure, something that took hold at a moment in time and has been spreading ever since.

“It took three minutes for 98 per cent of all the matter there is or ever will be to be produced and voila! The Universe was born.”

I’m not saying that the “coming” of social media technology was conceived and completed in three minutes, but we do know that this phenomena exploded onto mainstream consciousness in a similar fashion and expanded with a parallel intensity … and is still spreading.

Both events appeared with a “hiss and a roar” on a magnitude of universal proportions.

Social media keeps on expanding…

“In less than a minute the Universe is a million miles across and growing fast.”

In less than six years social media has made a major impact on our lives… and continues to mature and grow on a daily basis.

And what about this from the Book?

“In 1965 Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson were troubled by a persistent background noise, a steady stream of hiss that was relentless and unfocused. It came from every point in the sky, day and night, through every season”.

(Does this remind you of  a small flightless blue bird that has its lodgings in every corner of the world?)

It was eventually discovered that this “persistent background noise” was in fact the edge of the Universe – some 90 trillion miles away!
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Twitter Analytics Tools – A Crowdbooster Review

Management of multiple social media accounts can be a huge drain on your time and resources. Never believe anyone who says social media is free! It ain’t! In this post I will review a Twitter Analytics and scheduling tool called Crowdbooster – no affiliate relationship is involved here so you get nothing but the facts without a pitch. And seeing as this is social – please share with the Tweet, Like, Share type buttons at the top.

Like most people you are probably feeling a little overwhelmed with the sheer number of social media accounts you need to be active on if you are in business.

You are also more than likely finding that tweeting, updating, sharing, liking, +1ing, In-ing (Ha!), pinning, stumbling, tumbling, checking in, digging and every other possible permutation is WEARING you out!

I have written previously about Twitter techniques to engage – this post is about how to cut down on the amount of time spent managing your social media accounts.

Social media analytics

Say hello to the wonderful world of social automation – and before you get up on to your high horse – yes, I can hear the chorus already:

Social is all about the conversation, it is about being in the “now”, it is in real-time… 

I agree, 100%!

And you should never automate conversations in social media, or thank yous, or any other more personalised interactions. Ideally you should check into social media frequently to reply to people… in real time.

However, there are certain aspects of social media which should be automated.

Some of the more mechanical tasks associated with managing your social media can take hours every day if you do these manually.

So, tools to assist with reducing the amount of time you have to spend on social media are a necessity.
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