20 top web marketing posts – The Weekend Wrap Vol 22


Boom! Matt Cutts from Google drops a bomb that shifts the SEO world on its axis!

How does this affect your web marketing strategy?

And that’s just the beginning – this roundup of the best from the web includes my nomination for the content marketing “post of the year” to date, as well as a scathing analysis of the fall from grace that Facebook is experiencing with B2B marketers.

Plus it’s that time where the SEO experts gaze into their crystal balls and tell us what Google is likely to do this year (good luck with that!).

As a bonus we have some very cool User Experience examples, the lowdown on both meta descriptions and introductions, the best in content marketing tools, a very useful technical SEO plan, and why you might consider jumping from Facebook to Google+ and much more.


Search Engine Optimisation

Keep Writing Quality Content: SEO Bloggers React To Matt Cutts’ Claim “Guest Blogging Is Dead”

The big news in SEO this past week has been Matt Cutts – head of Google’s Webspam Team announcing on his blog that “guest posting for SEO is over”. Although the spammy end of guest posting has been in Google’s sights for some time now the way it was announced was a little surprising. I know we are all sick of those barely coherent offers of guest post junk but this announcement angered a lot of top marketers as well with its broad sweeps. Cue this post from Search Engine Land which asked several top SEO bloggers for their views.

Matt Cutts Declares Guest Blogging “Done” … Are We All Screwed?

This one from Copyblogger responds to Matt Cutts comment in his post:

So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.

So the responses and debate flew and many larger media organisations felt the need to counter the inference that all guest blogs are spam… not happy!

Time for Guest Blogging With a Purpose

This response from Jen Lopez on Moz points out the differences between what Matt Cutts was actually talking about and high quality multi-contributor blogs. Guest post with a purpose other than gaining a contextual anchor text link in the body. Think about branding, credibility, traffic, visibility, authorship. And Jen also gives a few tips to help your strategy stay on the right side of any future algorithm update.

Google Propaganda, SEO and Why Marketers Need to Wake Up

This last one which takes the Google announcement and really runs with it is a great piece by the often provocative Rae Hoffman.

And now, we’ve added sites who allow guest posts to the chopping block. And if you think webmasters aren’t running around – right as you’re reading this post – disavowing legitimate sites where they have legitimate, useful guest posts (I’m not talking “made for guest posts” sites here people) then your head is buried in the sand.

A scathing missive on Panda, Penguin, bullying tactics and hypocrisy. Don’t miss it!

6 SEO Predictions for 2014

Eric Enge from Stone Temple offers his crystal ball insights for SEO in 2014. And it looks like he was pretty accurate with most of his predictions for 2013. There will always be the arrival of the completely unexpected which is why this space is so challenging but several of these have been discussed in some form for some time now. With these predictions it is more a matter of “how” and “when” than “if”. Good stuff!

How To Write Meta Descriptions for Maximum Clicks

There is a lot of misunderstanding around meta descriptions and the number of sites that are still using this important space with some misguided keyword ranking strategy is always surprising. The meta description or snippet is a very powerful marketing opportunity but it must be created with care and with a goal in mind. This post on the Raven blog covers all the key points – short form copywriting, authorship, rich snippets, length and technical considerations.

How to Create a Prioritized SEO Action Plan

From the Moz blog again this is a very smart technical SEO outline to incrementally deal with a number of potential issues from broken links to penalties, from duplicate content to keyword targeting.

What counts as high, medium or low? I’ve ranked the most common issues that I find while reviewing clients’ sites from largest impact to least. Just be sure to modify the final high/medium/low ranking based on how widespread the problem is.

SEO has developed into an almost forensic exercise through technical audits and testing as often a relatively minor fault can have serious repercussions.

Ohiwa Harbour Bay of Plenty New Zealand

Sunset over Ohiwa Harbour from Port Ohope


Content Marketing

Finding Your Brand’s Voice – How to Shape a Tone of Voice

This is probably the “post of the year” at this stage as it takes in-depth content to a new plateau. Amazing design, great insights, comprehensive information, well timed calls-to action and guest contributions all add up to a phenomenal piece. Yes, it’s that good.

A TONE OF VOICE is not what you say, but how you say it. This encompasses not only the words you choose, but their order, rhythm and pace. Rather confusingly, when seen in the world of business and marketing, the phrase ‘tone of voice’ refers to written – rather than spoken – words. A company’s tone of voice will inform all of its written copy, including its website, social media messages, emails and packaging.

Strategy, marketing, and technology are all intertwined

Excellent post on the relationship between marketing and technology and why the digital marketing space is so complicated.

…technology is not a magic bullet. It won’t absolve you of the need to produce brilliant content. But the interplay between technology and strategy is more complex than one merely being the handmaiden of the other.

Scott Brinker looks at the relationships between marketing and IT and the emergence of a new hybrid – Marketing Technologists.

90+ Content Marketing Tools Recommended by 40 Experts

This is really interesting in the fact that most of the experts use a similar range of tools. Where would we be without Google Analytics, various social media platforms, Hootsuite, Evernote, Feedly, Excel and the other big names? But scratch beneath the surface and you will discover a whole range of remarkable startups with innovative technologies for the content marketer. The big winner looks to be Buzzsteam.

6 Tips to Creating Killer Intro Paragraphs

We covered the importance of meta descriptions in the SEO section and here is a great post about that most critical of elements once your visitor has decided to click through – the Introduction. This covers a range of compelling options to keep your reader engaged and on the page including the use of questions, stories, wise words/quotes, shocking revelations and controversy. If you have a dull opening paragraph you have wasted your efforts with the rest of your post.

What makes content spread: The anatomy of a post that got over 500,000 likes

What does it take to get 500,000 Likes, over 20,000 Tweets and several thousand shares on other social networks? Leo Widrich from Buffer gives insights on what makes a super successful post work – long form content, irresistible titles, design for skim reading, social share buttons, consistency and more.

If you even take a few minutes to browse Marc and Angel’s blog, you will see that each piece of content has great depth and detail. There is not a single short-form post in there. And for good reason. Coming back to our New York Times study on what makes content go viral, length is one of the most important elements.

Trapped by tl;dr

And on the subject of long form content this piece from the master of short form content, Seth Godin, looks at the arrogance of tl;dr (too long, didn’t read).

Here’s what I’ve found: When I read in checklist mode, I learn almost nothing. It’s easy to cherry pick the amusing or the merely short, but it’s a quick thrill with very little to show for it.

Mr Godin is annoyed with the proliferation of pseudonym protected know-alls who take pleasure in decrying someone’s efforts without bothering to read because it is seen by them to be unworthy of their time. Interesting!

How to Stop Hating Writing (and Actually Get Kinda Good)

Writing can be tough. Excruciatingly tough at times. So, Hubspot have rounded up a few of their top content creators to give the lowdown on breaking through the barriers. Some great stuff here about tone, planning, frequency, making mistakes, practice and anticipating your audience’s questions. Hubspot comes up with the goods again.

20 Examples of Long Form Content with Great UX Design

These are inspiring examples of how User Experience has shifted to a whole new level with the use of long form content and brilliant design. Take a look at how music, sport, news channels and technology are nailing web pages that excite and engage.

Whakatane River - Anniversary Weekend fishing competition

Whakatane River – Anniversary Weekend fishing competition


Social Media

Facebook Brand Reach Dwindling: What To Do Now

Facebook has been pushing the line between monetising the platform to satisfy shareholder needs and having a worthwhile space for B2B marketing for most of 2013. But it looks like they have finally gone too far! At what point do marketers just give up on the manipulation and misinformation associated with paid and organic here. Shelly Kramer tells it how it is – check it out!

One thing we’ve seen over and over is that promoting a post gets a big spike in post views, comments and even new likes, but after the promotion expires views of any new posts drop like a rock. The duration of this flat line varies from page to page but seems to be directly related to how engaged users were on that page before it was promoted.

Bottom line that’s telling us NOT to promote posts on pages with good engagement. Probably not what Facebook was thinking would happen. – Janet Fouts

Top 10 Social Media Blog Finalists 2014

To make it into Social Media Examiner’s top 10 social media blog finalists you have to be doing some pretty special stuff. So take some time to check out these blogs to learn from some of the best in the game and find a few to watch over the next few months. Some of our regularly visited faves are in this list. The best of luck to all the finalists – making the final top 10 is a huge coup!

20 blog posts that made a difference — and why

And speaking of some of our favourite blogs, Mark Schaefer’s {Grow} blog always comes up to the mark for quality and insights. In this post he rounds up the posts from 2013 that… raised a ruckus, made the crowd go crazy, posts that aimed high, that taught an important lesson and finishes with the top post of the year – a viral sensation! Don’t miss it.

5 Twitter Marketing Tactics for Building a Huge Fan Base

Who doesn’t want simple, easy to implement tactics to improve Twitter effectiveness? No? Then move along to the next post – those of us who understand the power of Twitter as a brand promotion tool,  information sharing and discovering portal and as a super connecting platform will make sure we read this one – a guest post on Jeff Bullas’ blog. (isn’t that ironic?)

Why you must move from Facebook to Google+

And the last post for this Wrap is a super compelling post from Michael Q Todd on why you should seriously think about which platform you should use for your marketing efforts. The data he serves up is pretty hard to ignore as the Facebook page he says doesn’t perform as well as Google+ has engagement figures most of us could only dream of achieving.

I have 5,000 highly engaged Facebook friends and a fairly popular profile. My analytics tell me that I get around 1500 Facebook comments and 3000 “like” clicks a week. I have run 2 tests with almost identical pieces of content at the same time on Google+ and facebook in the past week. In both cases the Google+ post got over 10 times the +1`s (as compared to likes), comments and shares. Yes over 10 times.

That’s it for this edition of the Weekend Wrap. I’m sure you would have found something to inspire you and hopefully you have tucked away a few of this week’s web marketing posts to investigate in more depth.

While you are here please do the generous thing and use the buttons at the top to share with your own social media networks. Thank you!

See you next time!