Emerging technologies present huge opportunity for content marketing

Posted by on Jul 19, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Emerging technologies present huge opportunity for content marketing

Emerging technologies present huge opportunity for content marketing

In any role, it can be all too easy to fall into a comfort zone; you figure out a method that works, perfect your execution and watch as the fruits of your labor flood in. And repeat.

Of course, this can be a perfectly acceptable approach, but resting on your laurels can potentially cost you in the long term. While you’re using your tried and tested way of working over and over, your competitors are not only catching up, but trying out new ways of working that could leave you behind.

Digital and content marketing is an industry that prides itself on innovation. It is, of course, the data-driven offspring of traditional marketing, but results from Zazzle Media’s recent State of Content Marketing Survey revealed that even our industry is guilty of dragging its heels when it comes to jumping on emerging trends and technologies.

For example, just 2% of marketers surveyed said that voice search would be a key focus for them this year. While this is somewhat caveated by the fact that 17% of the marketers we asked are going to introduce voice search into their marketing mix in the next year, it’s still a low percentage of people who are eager to take the reins and own this space.

This trend continues across the survey, with the three least used channels comprising emerging technologies that have generated a lot of hype and excitement in the marketing space.

Just 13% of marketers are using programmatic as a marketing method and despite the massive growth and spread of virtual reality (VR) in marketing in 2017, only 6% are using this channel right now.

So why are these percentages so low?

You could argue that this is to be expected, but, 13%, 6% and 3% are staggeringly low numbers for trends that are touted to be the next big thing. And while ensuring foundation services such as written content and SEO are up to standard is essential, so is making sure your services are futureproof and ready to tackle the next big shift in marketing activity.

Brands also have the opportunity to win big by using emerging platforms in creative and engaging ways. In fact, we’ve already seen a number of examples of marketing campaigns incorporating these technologies to great effect, capturing consumers’ attentions in ways not possible through more mainstream techniques.

Pepsi’s Unbelievable Bus Shelter



How do you take a regular bus stop advertisement and turn it into a talking point among London commuters? As part of their promotion for their #LiveForNow campaign, Pepsi created an augmented reality bus shelter, which combined real-life imagery of London’s surroundings and overlapped it with some pretty interesting scenarios.

Showcasing everything from alien invasions, marauding tigers and even a giant robot attacking the city, this campaign managed to capture the imagination of the public and has so far clocked up over eight million views on YouTube. Sales of Pepsi Max were also up 35% year over year for the month the creative was live.

TOMS Shoes & AT&T: “A Walk in Their Shoes”



Shoe brand TOMS Shoes partnered up with internet provider AT&T to create a VR experience entitled “A Walk in Their Shoes”. The experience chronicles the journey of a Toms customer from California who he travels to Colombia to meet a child who benefits directly from his purchase.

AT vice president of brand marketing, Fiona Carter, told Fast Company that the goal was to celebrate Toms’ success over the last decade in an exciting and new way.

“What we love about this is that it’s a really immersive way to experience the impact that buying one pair of Toms shoes can have, in this case on one boy in Colombia,” says Carter. “It’s a powerful way to show how to make a difference in the world.”

Missing People make the most of advertising budget through programmatic

Innovation doesn’t have to be flashy, and while VR and augmented reality set pieces are effective visually, sometimes emerging platforms can help enhance reach.

The charity Missing People made the most of this concept by enhancing its outdoor advertising spend by shifting a portion of their budget from print to programmatic.

Before using programmatic, the charity was only able to advertise one appeal per week for a missing child across the whole of the UK. However, since investing in this method, the charity is able to run more targeted, location-based appeals outdoors that can be replaced as soon as a child is found.

Ross Miller, director of fundraising and communication at Missing People, told Marketing Week:

“When we first started using out-of-home, 50% of children we appealed for were found alive. When we switched to a more programmatic use of out-of-home our response rate went to 70%. People respond to a message that is relevant to either where they live or a location.”


These examples prove that emerging platforms have a role to play in content marketing in 2018 and beyond, and perhaps it’s a question of confidence as to why more marketers are hesitant to rolling out these new methods of working.

Content marketers need to prove their worth – having confidence in the practices, and being brave with the opportunities available will allow marketers to test, iterate and learn from their marketing efforts and emerging platforms have a large part to play in this.

The end of 2018 could look very different for marketers’ results if they’re brave with these new methods.

Free Essential Blogging and SEO Tools

Posted by on Jul 19, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Free Essential Blogging and SEO Tools

Free Essential Blogging and SEO Tools

You just started running a blog and need all the help you can get? Already has a blog and want to get more visitors by employing SEO? In my opinion blogging and SEO go hand in hand.

Every website could benefit from SEO. Blogs more so. Be it an easier to navigate interface or fixing up broken links across your website. With better SEO comes more visitor and better SERP rank.

There are tons of tools out there. So much so that you are confused as to which to use. Worry no more. You don’t have to waste your time researching for them one by one. We have already done it for you.

Here are some essential free blogging and SEO tools to help you get started.
Blogging Tool
1. Blog Title Generator

click here to Blog Title Generator

Keeping up with the schedule and pumping out those blog posts weekly really drains your creative juice. Need inspiration for your blog titles? Get endless blog title suggestions with this Blog Title Generator by yours truly SEOPressor. All you need is a keyword of the topic you want to write on. Type it in and BAM endless blog titles for you to choose from.

2. Canva

click here to Canva

A blog post with a whole page of text? BORING. Get some color and pictures into your blog posts. Use Canva to create a header, featured image, flowchart etc. Any graphic design work needed to be done can be done on Canva. It’s ok if you’re a graphic design peasant (I am too), Canva is easy to use. Just drag and drop and you’ll get a colorful image for your blog post in no time.

3. Flaticon

click here to Flaticon

Here’s another blogging tool that can go hand in hand with Canva. I can get dozens of free icons on Flaticon. Let’s say someone is looking for a pet icon for the “ List of best pet bed” blog post. The word “pet” gives you more than three thousand search result on Flaticon. Download them, upload it to Canva, drag it to the canvas. There, another colorful image for your blog post.


click here to

Now that you have awesome images to feature in your blog post, time to upload them. The problem is each images’ size is 3MB. That’s gonna slow down your loading speed by a ton. What you need to do is compress your images. does a good job downsizing your images while maintaining your image quality. Blogging and SEO both taken care of.

5. MailChimp

click here to MailChimp

MailChimp is an all-in-one marketing automation software. They can take care of all your basic marketing needs. The service is provided free of charge with more features being offered with a paid plan. If you’re just starting out, their free plan would work just fine.

Blogging Productivity
6. Focuswriter

click here to Focuswriter

Find yourself struggling to keep up with your posting schedule? Wandering off on pages after pages of Wikipedia. Watching one after another cat videos on YouTube? (Who doesn’t, its CAT VIDEOS) Focuswriter is a software with a minimalist interface for writers. That way, you are forced to focus on doing nothing except writing. Another brilliant blogging tool.

7. Tomato Timer

click here to Tomato Timer

Want to keep track on how much time you have spent on writing? (Or watching cat videos, really.) Tomato Timer is a free tool to time yourself on work time and break time. The default mode is set to a 25 minutes work time and 5 minutes rest time interval. That way you can keep your mind sharp and easily focused but not overworked. You can even select the alarm sound you want for when the 5 minutes rest time is up. I personally choose the elevator ding since it’s not violently intrusive. But the choice is yours.

Data Collecting
8. Google Trends

click here to Google Trends

As the name suggests, the tool lets you see what’s trending based on country and category. You can use it to gain insights on many things. This can highly benefit you from selecting a topic, a keyword, gauge how popular a certain product is to how well your competitor is doing. This could be a both blogging and SEO tools. Since writing about hot topics would attract more visitors. While targeting certain keywords can help step up your SEO game.

9. Google Adwords

click here to Google AdWords

The keyword planner function in Google AdWords is a vital tool for anyone who is serious about optimizing their blog posts. Keyword plays a key role in SEO. Choosing a relevant keyword makes your blog post relevant. And when it’s relevant, you gain more readers, that simple. Keyword is different from topic and is further break down into short tail keywords and long tail keywords. You can read more about keyword research here.

10. Google Analytics

click here to Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the all in one data gatherer for your website. For me, this is one of the most important free SEO tool that everyone should be using. On Google Analytics you can see how many visitors each webpage has, how long they stay on the page, the demographics of your reader etc. There are so many things on Google Analytic that the easier way would be for you to see it for yourself. Take note of the data, and make adjustments. SEO means nothing when you don’t have access to real data. Read up on our SEO course about setting up analytic for your website here.

11. Google Speed Insights

click here to Google Speed Insights

While the average load time for a webpage is 8.66 seconds, the recommended load time is 3 seconds. Why? Cause users like their internet fast, and webpage load faster. Ever click on a web page that takes forever to load? Did you give them a chance to finish loading before you just abandon the site altogether? You probably just clicked on the x button right? That’s why speed is so important. This Google tool tells you how your site speed fare and gives you a list of suggestions. The connection between site speed and SEO should never be ignored.

12. Google Mobile-friendly Test

click here to Google Mobile-friendly Test

Another important aspect of SEO is responsiveness. You can read more about why a mobile-friendly website is important for SEO here. Your website should be mobile-friendly not only because of SEO but also for the ease of use for your readers. Like the tool above, this tool lets you check how mobile-friendly your website is and give you a list of suggestions to improve. Considering how Google has been stressing on the importance of mobile-friendliness to ranking, this is a must use tool.

Add-Ons & Plugin
13. Fireshot

click here to Fireshot

Everyone will find themselves needing to screenshot a webpage once in a while. Need to take a screenshot but is tired of the good old prt sc + ctrl v it into paint? Fireshot is a simple browser add-on for taking screenshots. Click it once to take a screenshot. Click again to download the image. Voila, you got your screenshot hassle free and in seconds. In fact, all the screenshots I have featured in this post is taken using Fireshot, no lie.

14. Grammarly

click here to Grammarly

When you’re writing a lot and writing quick. There tend to be overlooked grammar and spelling mistakes. Grammarly is a simple add-on that keeps an eye on your grammar. It highlights mistakes and suggests corrections. Making editing much less painful. If you don’t want the blog post which you poured hours on be frowned on because of a misplaced comma, Grammarly is a must have.

15. Alexa Traffic Rank

click here to Alexa Traffic Rank

Alexa the flagship virtual assistant of Amazon has an add-on too. The traffic rank toolbar is very useful for analyzing your website as well as your competitors’ website. Two of the most valuable information you can get from it is Search Analytics and average load time. Search Analytic is especially useful to analyze keywords of similar blog posts. That way you can analyze and learn from the enemy and outrank them.

16. WP Super Cache Plugin

click here to WP Super Cache Plugin

This WordPress plugin generates and serves static HTML files to a majority of your readers. A cached site loads faster. Faster load speeds lead to happy readers. Happy readers lead to more loyal readers. Loyal readers lead to more leads. More leads lead to more business. Now you know why you need to cache your website. Considering the benefit of caching, you should give it a try to boost your website.

Webmaster Tool
17. Google Search Console

click here to Google Search Console

Previously Google Webmaster Tool, as the name suggested it is an essential tool for every webmaster. If you want to gain full control of your website, Google Search Console let you do just that. From checking sitemap, setting crawl rate to setting up robots.txt file. You will find this tool extremely useful for managing your website. Together with Google Analytics these two free SEO tools are extremely helpful for everyone wanting to start optimizing their website.

18. Bing Webmaster Tool

click here to Bing Webmaster Tool

Like its Google counterpart, Bing Webmaster Tool lets you into a big amount of data and let you take control of your website. Submit your sitemap, test your website’s mobile friendly-ness, setting up crawl rates and more. Fully utilized, this can help boost your site’s SEO. It’s also completely free, so you should definitely make use of it.

Now that you know which blogging and SEO tools to use…

It’s time to start working on building your blog and SEO. There are many more articles on our blog that can help you. Be it SEO, blogging, inbound marketing or more.

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73 Blogging Tips That Make Sense

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What is Digital Marketing?

Posted by on Jul 19, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on What is Digital Marketing?

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing has become one of the most popular buzzwords the last couple of years. Everybody is talking about digital marketing and professionals praise it’s the way to grow an online business.

If you type the phrase ‘digital marketing’ in Google trends, you will see that there is a clear upshift in search terms related to digital marketing.

Digital Marketing Search Terms Popularity

Universities advertise their new digital marketing courses and in general there is an increased demand from users to learn more about digital marketing and how to use it to improve their online presence.

In this guide we will examine what is digital marketing, what are the various digital marketing channels, what is a digital marketing strategy and clear out some misconceptions about digital marketing and its role in the Internet world.

In this Guide:

What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing channels
What do we mean by a digital marketing strategy?
What is the role of a digital marketing manager?
Digital marketing misconceptions
Key Learnings

Digital marketing definition

What is digital marketing? Digital marketing is a broad term that encapsulates all marketing channels and methods you can use to promote products or services on the Internet but also on electronic devices such as TVs, mobile phones and electronic billboards.

The main difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing is that digital marketing campaigns are executed exclusively through digital channels and this gives marketers more control, tools and data to analyze the effectiveness of a campaign.

Digital marketing channels

Digital marketing has a number of channels and these can be separated into online marketing channels and offline marketing channels.

Digital Marketing Channels

The main difference between the two is that online marketing channels are based solely on the Internet while offline marketing channels have to do with digital devices which are not necessarily connected to the Internet.

Online marketing Channels

Website Marketing
Search Engine Optimization
Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Content Marketing
Email Marketing
Social Media Marketing
Affiliate Marketing
Inbound Marketing
Mobile Marketing
Video Marketing

Offline marketing channels

TV Marketing
SMS Marketing
Radio Marketing
Billboard Marketing

Website Marketing

A website is the focal point of all digital marketing campaigns. By itself is a very powerful channel but it’s also the medium to execute most of the other online marketing campaigns.

Your website should represent your brand, product and services in the best possible way. It should be fast, mobile friendly and easy to use.

Once you have a website your next step is to come up with a digital marketing strategy and promote your website and content with the purpose of getting more traffic and customers.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website for search engines. The main goal of SEO is to help a website rank higher in the search results and get organic (free) traffic from search engines.

SEO has a number of sub-processes. The main ones are:

Technical SEO
On-Page SEO
Off-Page SEO

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

PPC advertising gives you the ability to reach internet users on a number of networks through paid ads.

You can setup PPC campaigns on Google, Bing, Linkendin, Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook and show your ads to people searching for terms related to your products or services.

PPC campaigns can segment users based on their demographic characteristics (age, gender etc) or even their particular interests or location.

Every time a user clicks on your ads, you pay a fee to the provider (and thus the term pay per click).

The most popular PPC platforms are Google Ads and Facebook.

PPC Campaigns and SEO make up what is known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Content Marketing

Content marketing is all about the content. The digital world is a huge collection of content in different forms like text, images, audio and video.

The goal of a content marketing campaign is to reach potential customers through the use of content.

Content Marketing Overview

Content is usually published on a website and then promoted through social media, email marketing, SEO or even PPC campaigns.

The difference between having a blog versus running a content marketing campaign is that the later has specific goals as to what content to publish, when to publish it, who to target, and how to monitor the effectiveness of your content campaigns.

The main tools of content marketing are:

Online Courses

Email Marketing

Despite the increase use of social media networks, email marketing is still one of the most effective digital marketing channels.

Email Marketing Effectiveness Statistics

Many people confuse email marketing with the hundreds of spam email messages we all receive per day, but that’s not what email marketing is all about.

Email marketing is the medium to get in touch with your potential customers or the people interested in your brand and this entails that these people want to hear from you and you are not hijacking their inbox.

In fact, many successful online businesses and marketers use all other digital marketing channels to add leads to their email lists and then through email marketing they create a number of funnels to turn those leads into customers.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing has to do with reaching people in the various social networks either through content marketing campaigns (postings), paid ads or both.

The primary goal of a social media marketing campaign is brand awareness and establishing social trust but as you go deeper into social media marketing, you can use it to get leads or even as a direct sales channel.

Take for example Facebook. A Facebook sales funnel consists of 3 major steps.

The top of the funnel is awareness. This is the stage where you can use Facebook ads to introduce your brand to Facebook users. Your goal at this stage is to get your ad in front of as many people as possible and gain new followers.

The second step is consideration. At this stage your goal is to get people (that showed an interest in your brand) and pass them through the middle of the funnel and get them to visit your website, engage with your page, install your app, send you a message, etc.

The third step is conversion. This is the final step where you try to convince people that enter your funnel to convert. A conversion can be anything that has value for your business like a sale of a product or service or a visit to your store.

As you can see in the diagram above, for each funnel stage, you have a number of options as to which type of campaigns you can use.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest forms of marketing that has grown considerably with the rise of Internet usage.

Basically, with affiliate marketing you promote other people’s products and you get a commission every time you make a sale or introduce a lead.

Many well-known companies like Amazon have affiliate programs that pay out millions of dollars per month to websites that sell their products.

When designing your digital marketing strategy, you should include affiliate marketing as a way to get people involved in your brand and sell your products for a commission.

In other words, when you have a product or service to promote online, you should consider setting up an affiliate program where people can sign up and find resources and material they can use to promote your products on the Internet.

They will get a commission as a reward but the benefits for you as a provider are much more.

Your affiliates cannot only drive more sales but they can become the best representatives of your brand and positively influence other people to buy or connect with your company.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is another fancy term that refers to how you can use various digital marketing channels to reach new customers mainly through the process of content creation and how to ‘push’ them through a funnel until they convert.

Inbound Marketing Costs Per Lead

The main elements of inbound marketing are: content, attention, engagement, trust and satisfaction.

All these elements have a single goal: to help businesses connect with their potential customers and establish a channel of by bi-directional communication with them that will lead to more sales.

All digital marketing channels have similar sales funnels. What differs in many cases is the terminology used to describe each stage of the funnel. In general, a digital sales funnel has 3 main goals: to get people learn your brand, to get them engage with your brand (either through your website or app), and to get them to convert.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing refers to the process of reaching customers in the different mobile app stores such as Google Play, Apple app store or Amazon marketplace.

Mobile Marketing Statistics


These app stores have thousands of apps and millions of users per day. With mobile marketing you can promote your apps either through paid advertising or through other methods (cross app promotions etc.), so that they can be seen and installed by more users.

Note: Mobile marketing is not the same as having a mobile friendly version of your website.

Making your website mobile friendly is a must and necessary otherwise your website won’t show up for Google searches performed on mobile.

Mobile marketing is about creating an app and uploading that app to Google Play or other app stores for users to download.

Video Marketing

Video marketing is something relatively new but recently is has become so popular that you simply cannot ignore it.

YouTube has become the second most popular search engine and a lot of users are turning to YouTube before they make a buying decision, to learn something or just to relax.

YouTube Statistics

YouTube is just one of the mediums you can execute Video marketing. There are so many other platforms like Facebook Videos, Instagram, Vimeo to use to run a video marketing campaign.

The best way to take advantage of video is to integrate them in your SEO, content marketing and social media marketing campaigns.

Running standalone video campaigns can be costly and does not always create a positive return on investment, but when video is used as part of your other campaigns, the ROI is justified.

We will examine below some examples on how to use Video marketing as part of a digital marketing strategy.

Offline Marketing Channels

The channels described above are the most important components of digital marketing. These are the channels that can be executed through the Internet (thus the term online marketing channels) and in many cases, it’s the only ones you need to use to have a strong online presence.

The offline digital marketing channels described below are still used but they are not suitable for all companies. For example, a small business does not have the funds to advertise on TV or electronic billboards.

TV Marketing

TV marketing is not dead, on the contrary is a marketing channel that will experience a boost in the coming years.

Currently TV advertising is not 100% targeted. Marketers can only make assumptions based on the statistics they have from a limited amount of people.

The adoption of Web TV will change this dramatically. Marketers will be able to target audiences based on a number of factors and make informed decisions as to what content to produce.

SMS Marketing

SMS marketing is still an option to get in touch with potential customers, although not among the most powerful.

There are better alternatives these days like push messages on the web and mobile and also on Facebook messenger.

Nevertheless, SMS marketing can be used to get more visits to your local community store.

Radio Marketing

Radio marketing is another tool you can utilize but not so effective as other methods. The main issue with radio marketing is that you don’t know exactly the return on your investment.

When you pay for a radio ad, you can only assume on the amount of people that heard the ad, based on the number of listeners the particular radio station has.

Radio marketing is still good for local businesses though and small communities that are not so affected by the social media mania.

Billboard Marketing

Billboard marketing is considered to be part of digital marketing. Electronic billboards are available in a number of public places (think Times Square billboards or Super Bowl commercials) and it’s another more traditional channel in your digital marketing arsenal.

What is a digital marketing strategy?

A digital marketing strategy is a detailed plan on how you can utilize the different digital marketing channels to achieve your business goals.

When you design a digital marketing strategy you need to consider which channels to use, the resources (people, time and money) to assign to each channel and what to expect in terms of results.

A common mistake made by many digital marketing managers or small business owners is that they try to execute everything at once and at the end of the day they get no results.

Either because don’t have the necessary expertise to run digital marketing campaigns or because they end up spending their budgets on channels that are not suitable for their business.

Example of A Digital Marketing Strategy

Although each and every digital marketing strategy is unique and based on the specific needs and goals of a business, you can read below an example to help you understand how all marketing channels can work towards a common goal.

Example: Digital Marketing Strategy for a company selling digital products (online courses, ebooks, etc.).

Step 1: Website – The first step is to create a website that is fast and mobile friendly. The website should have several landing pages (or sales pages) to present the company and its products.

Step 2: SEO – The next step is to perform an SEO Audit and identify which areas need to be optimized for SEO. Technical SEO should be tackled first, then On-Page SEO and last Off-Page SEO.

Step 3: Content Marketing – Based on the results of a thorough keyword research and findings of the SEO Audit, you should create a content marketing plan that will include:

What kind of content to create for the website (text and videos)
When to publish it (publishing calendar)
How to promote it (can include social media channels, email and PPC campaigns).

Step 4: Social Media Marketing – Utilize all social media marketing campaigns to promote brand awareness and sales. Identify which social media channels are suitable for marketing your business (based on customer profiling) and create a schedule for publishing content on those networks.

At the same time, start creating lists of influencers and other people that are most likely to be interest in your products or share your content on social media.

Step 5: Email Marketing – Start building an email list using several CTA areas on your website and social media channels.

Your initial goal is to get people to sign up for your newsletter or register to download free material or register for free trials.

Create several email marketing funnels to get ‘push’ your subscribers from the awareness stage to the conversion stage.

Step 6: Pay-Per-Click Advertising – In parallel to the above activities setup an AdWords Campaign to target people searching for product related keywords on Google and remarketing campaigns on Facebook to go after users that visited your website but did not convert.

Step 7: Video Marketing – Part of step 3 above is to identify for which topics / keywords you can create video content. Publish your videos on a dedicated YouTube channel, on Facebook, Instagram and any other platforms you are targeting in your campaigns.

For each video create a blog post on your website and embed the video with text content.

Step 8: Mobile Marketing – Consider creating a mobile app which users can download from the App Stores that will include your latest news and ways for people to access your courses through your app.

Step 9: Measure and Analyze the results – Ensure that you have Google analytics installed and configured correctly and that you can accurately measure the effectiveness of the above campaigns.

Create an excel sheet and add for each campaign details about the cost, number of visits, number of conversions, people reached etc.

The above it’s just a summary of what your digital marketing strategy should include. If you are a small business with limited resources then it’s normal that you won’t be able to execute the whole plan from the very beginning.

What you should do is that is follow a step-by-step approach starting with your website, SEO and content marketing.

Once you manage to have these in place for a number of months, you will gradually experience an increase in traffic and revenue and then you can add the other tools to the mix.

What is the role of a digital marketing manager

The role of a digital marketing manager is to create a well-defined digital marketing strategy. It’s his job to decide which channels to use, where to allocate the budget and in what order.

The DMM has also the role to oversee the work of the other managers and make sure that everybody is working towards the same goals.

A typical ‘digital marketing team’ has the following roles:

Digital Marketing Manager

A person with skills and good knowledge related to:

Social Media
Content marketing
PPC advertising

SEO Experts are not digital marketing managers. A digital marketing manager has a broad understanding of ALL digital marketing channels and not just SEO.

Most successful digital marketing managers are experienced SEO’s who have working experience with other marketing channels as well.

See also: Should you hire an SEO or Digital Marketing Manager?

Content marketing manager

A content marketing manager is responsible to create and execute the content marketing plan. He is the person to decide what type of content to create and what channels to utilize.

Social media manager

He is responsible for the promotion of a company through the various social channels. He works closely with the content marketing manager to push the right content to the right people at the right time.

SEO manager

Depending on the team structure, you many decide to have a dedicated SEO manager that can assist the Digital Marketing for SEO related tasks.

PPC manager

A PPC manager is responsible for running paid campaigns on the different platforms, mainly Google Ads, Facebook Ads (including Instagram) and Bing.

PPC managers can become certified in Google Ads or Facebook, which another way to prove their qualifications.

Email marketing manager

The job of an email marketing manager is to ensure that any email leads created through all the other channels are entered into suitable email funnels that will eventually lead to conversions.

Sending a newsletter every now and then is not email marketing. A proper email marketing campaign turns leads into customers and this is the reason you need to have a dedicated manager to monitor these activities.

Digital marketing misconceptions

The term ‘digital marketing’ is relatively new and that’s why it has become common for people to use it even in cases where they mean something different.

Digital Marketing Overview

The most common misconceptions are:

Digital marketing VS Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is a sub-set of digital marketing and is not the same thing.

Internet marketing or online marketing refers to the methods you can use to run campaigns on the Internet.

As shown in the diagram above, the main components of Internet marketing are: Search Engine Marketing (which includes SEO and PPC), Social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, affiliate marketing. Mobile marketing and video marketing.

Digital marketing is over and above online / Internet marketing as it includes other digital channels as well.

Digital marketing VS Social media marketing

When you have an active presence in social media, you are essentially running social media marketing campaigns and not digital marketing campaigns.

Social media marketing is just one of the components of digital marketing. To fully experience the benefits of digital marketing, you need to add more digital channels to your plan.

For a more in-depth explanation read: Digital Marketing VS Social Media Marketing

Key Learnings

Digital marketing is all about marketing on the internet and the other electronic devices. It’s not a single process but it consists of a number of sub-components which you can use depending on what you want to achieve.

Not all methods work for all businesses, that’s why it’s important to come up with a digital marketing strategy that will detail how you will utilize each process.

A digital marketing manager is the person responsible to monitor all digital marketing activities.

He needs to have broad knowledge on how the internet works so that can decide which marketing activities are more suitable for a given project.

Other typical members of a digital marketing team are: content manager, SEO manager, social media manager, email marketing manager and PPC manager.

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What Is User Experience and Why It Concerns Your Website

Posted by on Jul 19, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on What Is User Experience and Why It Concerns Your Website

What Is User Experience and Why It Concerns Your Website

What is user experience and why it concerns your website?

If you’re using Google Analytics, you will have access to a bunch of data that came from Google monitoring the user experience of your visitors. Those data are used to gauge your website performance and also play a role in your SERP.

In this blog post we are going to talk about: what is user experience, how does it affect SEO, how to check your user experience signals data, and how those data matters.

What is user experience?

What is user experience?

First of all. What is user experience? Let’s look at it from a visitor’s perspective. When someone visits your website, how comfortable your website is? Did they get what they visit the website for?

Comfortability can concerns how easily they can navigate through your website: Is there a visible toolbar with clear categories? Are the text size and font easy to the eyes? Does your website loads in seconds?

Matching up with visiting purpose to make sure the users get what they want: Are the title tags and meta descriptions misleading? Do you have a thin content problem? Do you have the product that they want?

It is actually really simple. To sum it up, the user experience is in fact, the way you present your website to your audience and how they feel navigating through it.

How does it affect SEO?

Here is the point, this is an era of overloaded information. You can get 100 pages of Google search result on anything you type into the search bar.

The allmighty Google

When a user reaches your website, the first thing they decide is whether or not they want to click on that X button. Even before they spend a few seconds to scroll through the web page.

All those websites they clicked in, all those X they clicked on, all those seconds they spent on a webpage, means something.

Google keeps track of user behavior experience signals. All those clicks and seconds spent counts.

Why is that? Google as a search engine strives to give the user what exactly it is that they want and need. By tracking on user experience and user behavior signals, Google can gauge how relevant a website is to the users.

The point is a relevant website gains higher position on the SERP. A relevant website also gets more visits and business.

We have talked about how important a site speed is for ranking. We have also talked about building a responsive website. All those are parts of user experience that should be taken into account.

Ignoring user experience is one of the biggest SEO mistakes to avoid.

How to check your user experience signals data

Google Analytics is one of the Google Webmaster Tools which is free to use. By using Google Analytics, you can have a glance at user experience signals.

Now, I’ll show you how you can access your website’s user experience signals. All you need to do is click on the behavior drop down bar, and click on overview.

This is what you will see.

If you want more detailed data according to different pages. Simply click on the Site Content drop down bar and click on All pages. You will be presented with respective data according to pages.

There are a handful of data that you can access via Google Analytics.

But today we will be looking at these three signals: bounce rate, average time on page and exit rate.

How those user experience signals data matters.

Here’s how you can get the most of user experience signals out of a Google Analytics report.

Bounce rate

If a reader visits your website, stays on an article page then exit. It is considered a bounce. On the opposite, if a reader visits your website, browsed an article then clicked to another one, and another one, then it is not considered as a bounce.

What it means is, a visit session that only consists of one web page is a bounce. Lower bounce rate is usually preferred. Since it means a visitor is engaged with your website. It implies that your website is relevant to their query or interest.

Imagine a website selling shoes, if a visitor clicked on the page selling a pair of red sneakers, then exit the website altogether. We can safely assume that they did not found what they want.

But if the visitor, after the red sneakers product page, clicks on the white sneakers product page then the blue sneakers product page. We can assume that they are interested in the things offered. Thus, the higher level of engagement.

No, not this kind pf bounce.

Why it matters to you.

This is how Google views bounce rate. For Google, a page with a high bounce rate means less relevancy, less relevance means lower SERP position.

That’s how user experience can influence your SERP ranking.

When you create a web page, there is always a goal. Think about what is the goal of the web page then associate it with the bounce rate. Is it achieved?

If a homepage has a high bounce rate. That should be concerning. The main function of a home page is to serve as a navigation ground to visitors to explore your whole website. If they are not clicking on links to check out your other pages. Then that is not a very good homepage.

Average time on page

Browsing, browsing, and browsing…

This is pretty much self-explanatory, average time on page is just that, the average time a user spent on a web page (according to Google standard anyway). If you want an in-depth explanation on how Google attain the data itself, have a read at Misunderstood Metrics: Time on Page / Average Session Duration.

Why is it important?

For content creators, you want people to actually go through what you have created. If you have written a massive three thousand word article. But your average time on page is only 30 seconds. It is clear that the visitors didn’t really read your work.

For business, it’s normal for potential customers to spend time on a product page to read the reviews or product descriptions. If they spend more time on a product page, we can safely assume that they are interested in the product.

There are a couple reasons that can influence average time on page.

Starting from the web page itself. If the top of the fold, which is the area of the web page accessible to a user without needing to scroll down, is filled with advertisements. Or the users are overwhelmed with multiple pop-ups the moment they enter a web page. You can be sure that the visitor will nope out of the web page in a heartbeat.

Nope-ing out of a website.

If the website design is perfectly functional and user-friendly, yet the average time on page is short. Then maybe the problem lies in the content. If it’s a blog, is the content relevant to the title? Is the formatting easy to the eye and retains attention?

If it’s a product page, do you feature basic information about the products? Picture, measurement, price, availability, options, reviews, all those are crucial for a customer to consider if they are looking for something to put into the cart.

Exit rate

When a user exits your website, it means they clicked on that x button. That simple.

Let’s look at an example. The first web page the visitor has visited on your website is, then looked at and finally, they also browsed xxx.product.xom/shoe/blue then they exited the page.

So where does the exit happens? It’s simple, the answer is –

Why does this matter?

Now, exit rate is a little more ambiguous way to gauge user experience. Because a visitor has to visit your website at some point right?

So what you need to do is, associate the purpose of a certain web page with the exit rate. Then see whether it is natural for a visitor to exit on that certain page.

Let’s look at some examples. A blog post tends to have higher exit rate. The purpose of a blog post is mostly to educate the reader about something.

Because the users are there to read an article. When they are done reading it they will go on their merry way and continue browsing the web. Or whatever it is that they were doing before stumbling on your blog post. That’s normal.

A product list page is a different story. If the exit rate of the page is high, it means the visitors are not interested in your products at all. That’s not normal.

You want visitors to buy your products. But instead, they are exiting your website. That does not align with the purpose of the product page.

Red alert! High exit rate at product page!

What you can do it. By analyzing whether is high exit rate is normal or not. You should be aware that there is a problem. Red alert, high exit rate! The users are not liking this page. You need to fix that.


If you are using Google Analytics but have no idea how those data could be of use. Bounce rate, average time on page and exit rate are three user experience signals that you can get from a Google Analytics report that is very useful. Gauge how your web pages are performing by associating the purpose of a page with those three user experience signals. Examples: high bounce rate and exit rate on a homepage are not normal. Blog posts tend to have higher bounce and exit rate. Short average time on page for blog posts shows that users are not engaged with your content.

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The SEO challenges of an ecommerce website

Posted by on Jul 18, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The SEO challenges of an ecommerce website

The SEO challenges of an ecommerce website

When it comes to SEO, there are many challenges that a website has to go through. The problems, however, depend entirely on what type of site you are running. For an ecommerce website, it is easy to get things wrong when it comes to SEO.

In this article, we will discuss those challenges and also share some solutions. If you own an ecommerce website and are struggling with SEO, this article is for you.

1. Writing a strong product description


There are a number of challenges with providing a strong product description for all the products on your website. Generally, an ecommerce website consists of thousands of products, and they are automated to a certain extent. This leads to poor SEO quality when it comes to content and providing value to the reader.

Search engines, for example, will find little to negligible unique content to crawl. With so many pages to crawl and rank, no new content will result in no SEO exposure. According to reports, pages that rank on the first Google page have an average length of 1890 words.

As an ecommerce store, you need to update as many product information as you can, especially for the products that you want to rank on. Also, try to work on duplicate content and write unique content for all the products you have.

2. Low quality content

Written content should be of high quality. The need for high-quality content has risen after Google’s Panda Algorithm release. Also, as already mentioned, try to write unique and easy-to-read product description.

3. Loading speed

Website loading speed is one of the main reasons why visitors abandon a website or their cart. If you are running an ecommerce site, you shouldn’t neglect the time it takes for your website to load.

In short, every second counts and the longer it takes to load the website, the higher the chances of lower conversion rate, high bounce rate and so on. To get started, you need to have your website loading time somewhere between 2 seconds to 3 seconds. Anything above 3 seconds, you will start losing your visitors which in return will mean lost revenue.

To solve this problem, you need to get a good hosting and then do some website tweaks by installing cache plugins to optimize it further. If you are not sure which hosting to choose, you should go through genuine web hosting reviews on the web. Also, try to read multiple reviews from different sources to validate the findings and then finally jump to solving it.

For an ecommerce firm, it is always a hard time to optimize a website as they list thousands of products. On top of that, each product contains multiple images which also needs to be optimized. The best way to solve this is to take care of this from the start through using image optimization techniques such as compression.

4. SSL

SSL is essential for any website, and it becomes more critical when it comes to ecommerce. SSL is part of the technical SEO and provides not only security but also improves SEO in the eyes of Google.

SSL protects the content that is shared between the user and the website. On top of that, visitors are more likely to trust an ecommerce website that has SSL as they can use their payment options without worrying about data theft.

Right now, getting SSL is not at all hard. The firm Let’s Encrypt, for example, provides free SSL certificates.

5. Managing user reviews

For the starters, you will find many ecommerce websites who don’t let users review products or manage reviews properly. This approach can seriously damage a website’s SEO. A study done by Yotpo revealed that putting reviews on the ecommerce website resulted in a 30% growth in just one month.

For an ecommerce website, it is essential to understand that there are both positives and negatives of enabling user reviews on your website. However, if you see it from the SEO perspective, it is always better to have user reviews enabled on your site.

You also need to manage reviews to ensure that they have a better impact on your website SEO so don’t just allow any discussion and avoid fake or unnecessary reviews to keep your ecommerce website SEO healthy.

6. Site design and redesign

Another big challenge for an ecommerce website is having a proper site redesign, responsive and supportive of a multiple screen size. Many new ecommerce websites mainly focus on getting their site online without brainstorming their website design and optimizing it for SEO and user experience.

The biggest challenge here is to redesign the website after it has decent traffic and content. There is a huge change of growth if the design/redesign is done correctly. One such example includes Seer Interactive redesigning their client’s website with the client seeing a 75% increase in organic traffic.

Pawan Sahu is a digital marketer and blogger at MarkupTrend

Does site speed influence SEO?

Posted by on Jul 18, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Does site speed influence SEO?

Does site speed influence SEO?

You don’t even have to listen very carefully because SEO people are shouting it from the rooftops: site speed is everything. Not a day goes by without a new article, white paper, Google representative or SEO expert telling us that optimizing for speed is one of the most important things you can do right now. And they’re right, of course! Site speed influences SEO in many ways. Here’s a small overview of how site speed and SEO go together.

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You won’t have a second chance for that first impression: Everything starts with speed

Picture this: you have put in a lot of effort to make sure that your site works well, it has a great structure and includes fabulous targeted and relevant content. But that won’t be the first experience your potential visitor/client/consumer has with your site. They will have to load your site first before they can access that killer content. If it takes ages to load, there will be a significant drop-off and a lot fewer people will visit your site. A much faster competitor is just a single click away. Not investing in a fast site is almost like you don’t care for your customers. No reason for them to stay, right?

On mobile, site speed is even more of an issue. According to research by Google, the average mobile site takes over fifteen seconds to load while people expect them to load in less than three seconds before they consider leaving altogether. Every second counts, as conversions drop sharply with every second longer, your site takes to load. With that said, what are some reasons to improve the loading speed of your site?

Site speed is a ranking factor
Fast sites are easier to crawl
Fast loading sites have higher conversion rates
It reduces bounce rates
It improves general user experience (less stress!)

It all boils down to this: improve your site speed if you want happy customers and happy search engines! And who doesn’t want that, right?

Site speed is a ranking factor

Google has said time and again that a fast site helps you to rank better. Even as recently as this month, Google launched the so-called ‘Speed Update’ making site speed a ranking factor for mobile searches. Google stressed it would only affect the slowest sites and that fast sites getting faster won’t get a boost, but they are surely looking at site speed across the board. Only the slowest sites get hit now, but what about the future?

The Speed Update, which enables page speed in mobile search ranking, is now rolling out for all users!

More details on Webmaster Central

— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) July 9, 2018

Loading times influence crawling

Modern sites are incredibly wieldy and untangling that mess can make a big difference already. Fix your site structure, clean up old and outdated posts and bring those redirects in order. Invest in a better hosting plan and turn those servers into finely tuned machines. The bigger your site is, the more impact of speed optimizations will have. These not just impact user experience and conversion rates but also affects crawl budget and crawl rate. If your servers are fast, Googlebot can come around more often and get more done.

Fast loading sites have higher conversion rates and lower bounce rates

Your goal should be to be the fastest site in your niche. Be faster than your competitors. Having a site or an e-commerce platform that takes ages to load won’t do you any good. People hit that back button in a split second, never to return. Not good for your bounce rate! By offering a fast site you are not only working on improving your conversion rate, but you’re also building trust and brand loyalty. Think of all the times you’ve been cursing the screen because you had to wait for a page to load — again — or been running in circles because the user experience was atrocious — again. It happens so often — don’t be that site.

Site speed improves user experience

Did you know that people experience real stress when experiencing mobile delays? And that this stress level is comparable to watching a horror movie? Surely not you say? That’s what the fine folks at Ericsson Research found a couple of years back. Improving your site speed across the board means making people happy. They’ll enjoy using your site, buy more and come back more often. This, of course, means that Google will see your site as a great search result because you are delivering the goods when it comes to site quality. Eventually, you might get a nice ranking boost. It’s a win-win situation!

Optimizing your site is not just looking at pretty numbers

Optimizing your site for speed is not as simple as getting a good score in all those site speed test tools. Don’t blind yourself on scores and metrics. Most tests emulate an unrealistic environment, but guess what: the real world matters even more. Every user is different. Every visitor uses a different type of internet connection, device and browser. Find out who your users are, how they access your site and what they do while they’re there. Combine classic tools like Google’s recently updated PageSpeed Insights, and Lighthouse with analytical tools to get a broad overview of speed issues on your site. Use the recommendations to get started on improving your site speed, but do take these with a grain of salt; these recommendations are often hard to implement and not really realistic.

Ps: You are optimizing your images, right? Quick win right there!

Read more: Why every website needs Yoast SEO »

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Google Still Has A Lot of Work To Do When It Comes To Location…

Posted by on Jul 18, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Google Still Has A Lot of Work To Do When It Comes To Location…

Google Still Has A Lot of Work To Do When It Comes To Location…

One of the perks of international travel is getting to see what the SERPs really look like in other countries. Check out this query for “Sams Club”* I did while in Barcelona yesterday:

So Google thinks the “Barcelona” line of Sam’s Club furniture is relevant to me simply because I am in Barcelona. Note my query never specified location. Google just knows there’s a page called “Barcelona” which matches the name of city I am in. If had been in Helsinki and Sam’s had a line of much-needed Helsinki Bullshit Deflectors, it probably would have shown those.

The challenge is that Google often is not clear if a search query has local intent (we have talked a lot about this in our presentations on our Local SEO Ranking Factors Study). Google often is not sure if the searcher wants a document (aka “a web page”) relevant to a location or a document relevant to a word/phrase, entity or whatever. For another good example, see this post on Near Me SEO.

From the above result you can see that Google thinks there could be some local intent to the search (likely because Sam’s has retail locations) so it is showing me the Barcelona pages in the sitelinks. Had it been 100% confident, it likely would have shown the Barcelona URL as the top result (like a store page).

These results are not catastrophes but they could cause some confusion and possible abandonment for less-savvy clickers. They are not what I would call “good for users.” They do illustrate how tricky location can be for an algorithm.

My advice to retailers and any other sites with issues like these is to make it super clear which pages contain relevant location information by using structured markup. You could even link from the Barcelona product pages to the Barcelona store page with the anchor text=”Barcelona”. If Sam’s actually had a Barcelona location, that would make it more likely to appear in these results above the product pages. In extreme cases you may also consider either noindexing these URLs or using the Google Search Console Remove URL tool to get rid of these unwanted results.

This is an edge-case to be sure, but when you are operating at international brand scale, a few thousand edge cases can add up.

*A much-beloved LSG client

The post Google Still Has A Lot of Work To Do When It Comes To Location… appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

Early Results from Split Testing JavaScript for SEO

Posted by on Jul 17, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Early Results from Split Testing JavaScript for SEO

Early Results from Split Testing JavaScript for SEO

We’ve been testing what happens when pages rely on JavaScript to render properly – and one of our first tests showed an uplift when we removed a reliance on JS:

When @distilled ran an SEO split test to remove a reliance on JavaScript, they saw an uplift in search performance

— Will Critchlow (@willcritchlow) May 25, 2017

As many of you know, at Distilled we believe that it’s increasingly important to be testing your hypotheses about what will affect your search performance. As digital channels mature, and as Google rolls more and more ML into the algorithm, it’s increasingly hard to rely on best practices. To make this easier, we have been rolling out our SEO split testing platform, Distilled ODN (Optimization Delivery Network) to more and more of our clients and customers.

As we get our platform deployed on a wider range of sites with different architectures and technologies, we’re able to start testing more and more of the assumptions and best practices held around the industry.

You can check out a bunch of case studies that we have already published on our site: structured data, internal linking and meta description, title and header tags – and you can find more details in this presentation (particularly slide 73 onwards) that my colleague Dom gave at a recent conference. We also included some teaser information in this post about a big win that added £100k / month in revenue for one customer even while only deployed on the variant pages (half of all pages).

One thing that we were excited to get to test was the impact of JavaScript. Google has been talking about rendering JavaScript and indexing the resulting DOM for some time, and others around the industry have been testing various aspects of it, figuring out when it times out, and finding out the differences between inline, external, and bundled JS.

Sign up to find out more about our new ODN platform, for a scientific approach to SEO.


The hypothesis: there is a downside to relying on JS indexation

I wrote a Moz post on how I believe that JavaScript rendering and indexation works at Google, but the very short version is that I think it happens in a separate process / queue to both crawling and regular indexing. I think there is a delay downside, and possibly even more than that.

We recently had a chance to observe some of the effects of JS in the wild. One of our consulting clients – iCanvas – was relying on JavaScript to display some of the content and links on their category pages (like this one). Most of our customers on the ODN platform are not consulting clients of Distilled, but iCanvas is a consulting client with the ODN deployed (I’ve written before about how the ability to split-test is changing SEO consulting).

With JavaScript disabled, there were a load of products that were not visible, and the links to the individual product pages were missing (it’s worth noting that the pages showed up correctly in fetch and render in Google Search Console). We wanted to make the consulting recommendation that performance may be improved by showing this information without relying on JavaScript – but this is the classic kind of recommendation that is hard to make without solid evidence. There is clearly a cost to making this change, and it’s hard to know how much of a benefit there is.

Before our change, the pages looked like this with JS disabled:

After the change, they looked more like this (which is exactly how they used to look with JS enabled):

[It’s worth noting that although the change we made here was technically a CSS change, the test is measuring the effect of removing JavaScript dependence – we just moved a feature from JS-reliant to non-JS-reliant]

Split-testing the effect of JavaScript

Using our split-testing platform, we rolled out a change to 50% of the category pages to change them so that the information users might be looking for was visible on page load even with JavaScript disabled. The other 50% of pages remained unchanged and continued to rely on JavaScript.

We then automatically compared the performance of the updated pages with a forecast of what would have happened if we had not rolled out the change (this is called a “counterfactual”) [more here]. This showed that the pages we had updated to remove the reliance on JavaScript were getting a statistically-significant amount more traffic than we would have expected if the change had no effect:

The platform’s analysis showed a greater than 6% uplift in organic search performance to these set of pages, which amounted to over 3,000 additional sessions per month. This was an amazing win for such a small change (the chart above comes from the dashboard built into our ODN platform).

As an aside, the mathematicians on our team are constantly working on refinements to the way we detect uplifts with statistical confidence (see Google’s paper Inferring causal impact using Bayesian structural time-series models for more background). We use a variety of synthetic tests, null tests and cross-checked data sources to make improvements to the accuracy and sensitivity of the automated analysis. We also apply a variety of treatments to the analytics data to account for various behaviours (dominant pages, sparse traffic distribution, seasonal products etc.), as well as some modifications to how Google’s Causal Impact methodology is employed.

In the test above we have since improved the accuracy of the analysis (it did even better than the initial analysis suggested!), which is exciting. It also means we are capable of detecting tests that result in smaller uplifts than previously possible, helping lead to improved performance and improved attribution.

It’s possible that even when rendered, JavaScript hinders search performance

The main takeaway is that you should avoid the assumption that JavaScript-driven pages will perform well in search even if Google is able to render them. We need to continue running more JS tests, but in the meantime, we strongly recommend testing whether your reliance on JavaScript is hurting your site’s organic search performance.

Does Syndicated Content Work? Will It Help or Will It Hurt Your SEO?

Posted by on Jul 17, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Does Syndicated Content Work? Will It Help or Will It Hurt Your SEO?

Does Syndicated Content Work? Will It Help or Will It Hurt Your SEO?

Content syndication can be a great way to drive traffic to your site, get exposure and maybe even improve you rankings. But, on the other side, it can also turn out to be devastating, if played wrong.


The main concern when it comes to syndication is duplicate content. Will Google penalize you if you take other people’s content and place it on your own website? Will it hurt your SEO? Then, there’s also a concern regarding rankings. If you have a small website, will you be able to rank above the authoritative sources you’ve posted your content on?



What Is Content Syndication?

Syndication vs. Guest Posting

Does Content Syndication Affect SEO & Traffic?

Duplicate Content, Backlinks & Penalties
When You Syndicate Other Websites’ Content
When Other Websites Syndicate Your Content
Press Releases

Should Syndicated Content Be Indexed or Not? Will It Outrank the Original Content?
Dealing With Stolen Content
An Alternative to Content Syndication


Well, there are many variables and, depending on each case, you should take proper action. In this article, we’ll try to cover as much as possible and help you decide whether content syndication will work for you or if it’s better to stay away from it.

What Is Content Syndication?


Content syndication is the process of giving other publishers the right to republish your content. It can often happen in all types of media and it isn’t restricted only to web. Content syndication was popular in TV, radio and print as well.


So, in a nutshell, content syndication is when you publish your content on other websites. Why would you do that? Well, there could be a number of reasons, but the biggest one is gaining exposure and, potentially, traffic.


You can also publish other pieces of content on your website, in order to attract visitors to your website and make revenue through ads. It goes both ways.

Syndication vs. Guest Posting


If you thought this kind of sounds like guest posting, then you’re right. There are some similarities. However, there are some differences that set them apart pretty far from one another.


Both guest posts and syndicated content have kind of the same purpose: to bring traffic and backlinks to your website. This way, they’re similar. But, for once, guest posts are unique content (or at least they should be) while syndicated content is duplicate content. You: Wait what? Duplicate content? Isn’t that like bad? It depends. But we’ll talk about this soon enough, so keep reading.


Content syndication is also a lot more scalable guest posting. After all, there are only so many guest posts you can write in a month. With syndication, you also get to post the content on your website and own it. With guest posting, you don’t get that luxury. So, if a guest post is really successful, other websites will benefit from the traffic.


Content syndication is easier to scale than guest posting and you also have the advantage of owning the content.


However, it might be a lot easier to land a guest post somewhere than to syndicate content, because everybody loves unique content.

Does Content Syndication Affect SEO & Traffic?


When it comes to publishing your content somewhere else or publishing other content on your website, there are a lot of concerns that people have. How will this impact their rankings, traffic and image? Will it help you rank higher and get more traffic, or will it affect your rankings negatively?

Duplicate Content, Backlinks & Penalties


The biggest concerns people have when syndicating content are duplicate content and backlink penalties. Let’s go through both of them to find out more.


Duplicate Content Penalty:


It’s true, syndicated content is considered duplicate content. However, the duplicate content penalty is just a myth. Google doesn’t penalize websites for duplicate content. At least, not the way you think.



So, there you have it. Google doesn’t have a duplicate content penalty. It does however, penalize websites that scrape content or spam the web using duplicate content. If they provide no value at all, then Google might take manual action. But that’s not really about duplicate content as much as it is about spam.



However, Google likes it when you provide unique content and specify your duplicates. If there are 5 URLs with the same content, which one should Google rank? If you don’t help the bot, it will decide on its own at some point and send the other pages into the omitted results. You’re better off with unique content.


Google simply knows that users like diversity. They don’t like to see the same content ranking over and over again. So if you want to call Google’s omitted results a penalty, fine. However, a general website penalty for duplicate content is just a myth.


Link Penalties: Dofollow or Nofollow?


What Google always advises is to avoid any sort of scalable link schemes. Content syndication kind of fits that criteria, so you should definitely be careful where you syndicate your content. Make sure the websites you post on and get links from are decent.


If you set partnerships with multiple publishers, then it’s probably a good idea to mark your backlinks what a nofollow tag. That way you’ll be sure that nothing bad can happen, especially if you’re paying for the post. And, just in case you’re wondering, nofollow links are useful for SEO.


Using nofollow links back to your site will ensure that you won’t get penalized. Nonetheless, if the offer isn’t incentivized, dofollow links are good.


However, if some webmaster reaches out to you to ask your for permission to republish your content because they think your content is awesome, feel free to get a dofollow link from them. As John Mueller mentioned above, as long as you’re not spammy, you shouldn’t worry.

When You Syndicate Other Websites’ Content


If you’re planning on publishing other people’s content on your website, then there are some things you need to consider.


First of all, you probably won’t be ranking that content in Google. You therefore need another source of traffic for the content, otherwise it won’t be of much help. If you have social media following or generating traffic some other way, then you shouldn’t have an issue. Second, the owners of the content might have different requirements, such as highlighting their websites at the top of the post, requesting a backlink or even a canonical tag.


Some websites follow this business model. They just republish great content from around the web and drive traffic to their site with it. However, if you think that’s easy-peasy to do, also consider that it takes years and a lot of hard work to build an audience and generate traffic to the website without spending more than earning.




You don’t have to write content
You get to publish great content from multiple sources




Owners might ask for canonicals, so you won’t drive traffic from Google
Can get into copyright issues if you don’t ask for permission
Google might think you’re spamming or using an autoblog plugin if you overdo it


How to do it the right way:


If you’re planning to syndicate content on your site… Wait, let me rephrase that. If you want to syndicate content on your site, you need a plan. You’ll need to know your sources, make sure that they agree with you republishing their content and also make sure that you know where you’ll generate your traffic from. Scaling this with autoblogs is a bad idea, as it can get you into some legal issues as well as penalize your domain for web spam.

When Other Websites Syndicate Your Content


Getting your content on other websites is great. You can drive traffic back to your website and establish authority. However, it’s not as easily done as said. In order to get featured on worthy websites, you need worthy content. You should be posting quality content anyway, so this shouldn’t be an issue. When you give away your content, if someone (hypothetically) shares it somewhere you haven’t thought of and gains 10,000 visitors, you won’t get any of that traffic. They will build e-mail lists and make ad revenue on your content.


Make sure that your content is indexed as soon as you post it. You can do this via the Google Search Console, in the Crawl > Fetch & Render section. Once Google fetches and renders the content, you can request indexing for that link. Do this for every post before you start distributing it. If it gets indexed first on another website, you might get into trouble and not be able to outrank it.


You might also notice that people won’t just simply share your content when you pitch them. They will want you to share theirs as well. I post your content, you post mine, right? Well, if you successfully pitch this deal to 10 blogs, they only have to post once, but you’ll have to post 10 different articles on your site. You’ll end up with one popular and original piece of content on your site, and 10 copied, duplicate posts.


Also, Google values one way links more than link exchanges. If you scale link exchanges it might even consider it some sort of link scheme.




Nice way of promoting content and possibly even drive some traffic
Great way of building authority
Can get you quality backlinks




People might want to exchange favors or money for it
You don’t make revenue from ads and can’t build e-mail lists
There’s a risk you’ll get outranked


How to do it the right way:


Once you have your great piece of content, first make sure it’s indexed before you pitch. You want to be the first, so that Google doesn’t think you’re the one copying content. Then you need to pitch it to quality websites in your niche. Make sure you’re able to get a rel=”canonical” back to your original post. If not, at least get a backlink, be it follow or nofollow.


A good place to start is Medium. You can easily republish your content there, because Medium offers you the option to add a canonical URL. This way, if the medium post gets to the top of Google using its authority, your website will show instead.

Press Releases


Press releases are also a form of syndicated content, but they act a little bit differently. First of all, they’re often times paid, at least on the web.


Another difference is the fact that you don’t post it on your site. This means that you won’t be facing the duplicate content issue. However, it’s not excluded for news publishers to request original content on their website, meaning that the press release will be more like a guest post rather than syndicated content. Some publishers will write their own content, which is great, but others will ask you to do it.



Since you’re scaling this, you should definitely use nofollow links, as Google recommends. The posts are about you, anyway, so you’ll probably get more traffic than with regular syndicated content, as you can pitch your product/service or website right at the beginning of the post.


However, a canonical tag doesn’t make sense here, since the content isn’t duplicate. The link will help, but you could still get outranked if your press release gets posted on a high authority website. To avoid this, simply optimize the press release for a slightly different keyword than the main ones you want to target with your website.

Should Syndicated Content Be Indexed or Not? Will It Outrank the Original Content?


Some time ago, I asked John Mueller for advice, as someone took my content and posted it on their website before I even had a change to get it indexed.


We just rank the pages, we don’t decide who owns the content. If it’s a legal issue, you might want to get legal advice instead..

— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) September 22, 2017


John’s answer was kind of disappointing back then. Unless the webmasters would agree to link to me or add a canonical link, there was pretty much nothing to do except a copyright strike.


However, recently, I’ve also found this piece of information:



So… Apparently Google does care about which content was indexed first. Theoretically, as long as your site has been indexed, it should be ranking first. So, right after you post, just use the search console to index it quickly and you’ll be fine.


Well… not so fast. This might work if you’re already a somewhat established website, but if you’re site is 5 days old and you get to republish your article on CNN, don’t expect to rank above it.


We’ve had some scraper site outrank cognitiveSEO in Google Image Search with our own featured image. How did we find out? Because Google picked it for an answer box. We took a look at the URL and it wasn’t ours. I can’t recall if it was indexed before us, but luckily, Google figured it out and things got fixed pretty quickly. However, this proves that you can sometimes get outranked when syndicating content.


Here’s another example of someone “syndicating” our content. However, Google was smart enough to rank us at the top and show the other site only in the omitted results. The scrapers removed all the backlinks from the post and didn’t even mention the source. The only links we’re getting from it (which are probably harmful anyway) are the ones from the image sources.



As long as you’re genuinely building relationships and actively doing things to benefit the users, there shouldn’t be an issue with syndicated content.


Even though there are risks involved, syndicated content should be indexed, otherwise Google would never know that the original source is so popular.

Dealing With Stolen Content


Stolen content is syndicated content that doesn’t have your permission. Often times, your content is scraped by bots and automatically published on various websites, as mentioned above. 



However, webmasters might also republish your content without permission. This shouldn’t bother you too much if you’re ranking high already. However, if you’re not, it can potentially harm you. I’ll share a personal story with you:


Once upon a time, when I first started my SEO blog in Romanian, I wrote a very successful blog post that drove a lot of traffic to my site on the first day. Because I got so excited, I forgot to submit it for indexing. A big publisher liked it so much that it reposted it.


At first, I was kind of proud and happy, even though they didn’t ask me if I agreed, but then I realized my mistake. In a matter of days, their content was ranking on page 1 of Google for the keyword I targeted and my article was nowhere to be found. That Tweet, above, to John Mueller was actually about this situation. Luckily I managed to get a rel=”canonical” from them and soon Google ranked my content instead of theirs.


However, regarding the cognitiveSEO issue where some scraper site was ranking images above us, we actually couldn’t get in touch with them, so we instead decided to contact their hosting provider and report the copyright infringement. You can find out their hosting provider with tools like Who Is Hosting This.


So, you have to first try and reach out to see if you can get a backlink or canonical URL. If not, you can also ask them to remove your content, due to copyright. Reporting this to their hosting provider can get them suspended, so they will probably comply. However, if everything else fails, you can also file a DMCA Report using this tool from Google. Select See more products, then Web Search.

An Alternative to Content Syndication


I haven’t mentioned this yet, but the most important part in content syndication is building relationships with other webmasters. And you know what? You don’t have to post their content on your site. You can simply share it on your social media account. They will eventually share yours as well.


Building relationships with others can be extremely rewarding. And what better way to build relationships than to recommend their work? However, make sure you genuinely enjoy their products, services and content. People will eventually figure out if you try to kiss everyone’s… you get the point. They won’t like it. And don’t just share their content. Engage. Build a connection.


Social media is a great way to build connections and share relevant content without having to deal with any of the complications of content syndication.


If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your competitor’s content, you can always take a step down in your niche. For example if you’re in the SEO field, you might share content within the digital marketing field. If you’re into bikes, you can share sports (roller skates, scooters) or outdoor activities.




In the end, it’s a personal decision, if not a matter of business models and website purposes if you want to start syndicating content. Content syndication can be a great way to promote your content and make a name for yourself. However, you must also embrace the fact that content syndication revolves around an audience rather than search generated traffic and if you overdo it, you might get in trouble.


How about you? Have you ever used content syndication as a way to promote your blog? If yes, how did it go? Did you gain traffic? Were you ever outranked? Let us know in the comments section, we really want to find out!

The post Does Syndicated Content Work? Will It Help or Will It Hurt Your SEO? appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

The Local SEO’s Guide to the Buy Local Phenomenon: A Competitive Advantage for Clients

Posted by on Jul 17, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The Local SEO’s Guide to the Buy Local Phenomenon: A Competitive Advantage for Clients

The Local SEO’s Guide to the Buy Local Phenomenon: A Competitive Advantage for Clients

Posted by MiriamEllis

Photo credit: Michelle Shirley

What if a single conversation with one of your small local business clients could spark activity that would lead to an increase in their YOY sales of more than 7%, as opposed to only 4% if you don’t have the conversation? What if this chat could triple the amount of spending that stays in their town, reduce pollution in their community, improve their neighbors’ health, and strengthen democracy?

What if the brass ring of content dev, link opportunities, consumer sentiment and realtime local inventory is just waiting for you to grab it, on a ride we just haven’t taken yet, in a setting we’re just not talking about?

Let’s travel a different road today, one that parallels our industry’s typical conversation about citations, reviews, markup, and Google My Business. As a 15-year sailor on the Local SEO ship, I love all this stuff, but, like you, I’m experiencing a merging of online goals with offline realities, a heightened awareness of how in-store is where local business successes are born and bred, before they become mirrored on the web.

At Moz, our SaaS tools serve businesses of every kind: Digital, bricks-and-mortar, SABs, enterprises, mid-market agencies, big brands, and bootstrappers. But today, I’m going to go as small and as local as possible, speaking directly to independently-owned local businesses and their marketers about the buy local/shop local/go local movement and what I’ve learned about its potential to deliver meaningful and far-reaching successes. Frankly, I think you’ll be as amazed as I’ve been.

At the very least, I hope reading this article will inspire you to have a conversation with your local business clients about what this growing phenomenon could do for them and for their communities. Successful clients, after all, are the very best kind to have.

What is the Buy Local movement all about?

What’s the big idea?

You’re familiar with the concept of there being power in numbers. A single independent business lacks the resources and clout to determine the local decisions and policies that affect it. Should Walmart or Target be invited to set up shop in town? Should the crumbling building on Main St. be renovated or demolished? Which safety and cultural services should be supported with funding? The family running the small grocery store has little say, but if they join together with the folks running the bakery, the community credit union, the animal shelter, and the bookstore … then they begin to have a stronger voice.

Who does this?

Buy Local programs formalize the process of independently-owned businesses joining together to educate their communities about the considerable benefits to nearly everyone of living in a thriving local economy. These efforts can be initiated by merchants, Chambers of Commerce, grassroots citizen groups, or others. They can be assisted and supported by non-profit organizations like the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR).

What are the goals?

Through signage, educational events, media promotions, and other forms of marketing, most Buy Local campaigns share some or all of these goals:

Increase local wealth that recirculates within the community
Preserve local character
Build community
Create good jobs
Have a say in policy-making
Decrease environmental impacts
Support entrepreneurship
Improve diversity/variety
Compete with big businessesDo Buy Local campaigns actually work?

Yes – research indicates that, if managed correctly, these programs yield a variety of benefits to both merchants and residents. Consider these findings:

1) Healthy YOY sales advantages

ILSR conducted a national survey of independent businesses to gauge YOY sales patterns. 2016 respondents reported a good increase in sales across the board, but with a significant difference which AMIBA sums up:

“Businesses in communities with a sustained grassroots “buy independent/buy local” campaign reported a strong 7.4% sales increase, nearly doubling the 4.2% gain for those in areas without such an alliance.”

2) Keeping spending local

The analysts at Civic Economics conducted surveys of 10 cities to gauge the local financial impacts of independents vs. chain retailers, yielding a series of graphics like this one:

While statistics vary from community to community, the overall pattern is one of significantly greater local recirculation of wealth in the independent vs. chain environment. These patterns can be put to good use by Buy Local campaigns with the goal of increasing community-sustaining wealth.

3) Keeping communities employed and safe

Few communities can safely afford the loss of jobs and tax revenue documented in a second Civic Economics study which details the impacts of Americans’ Amazon habit, state by state and across the nation:

While the recent supreme court ruling allowing states to tax e-commerce models could improve some of these dire numbers, towns and cities with Buy Local alliances can speak plainly: Lack of tax revenue that leads to lack of funding for emergency services like fire departments is simply unsafe and unsustainable. A study done a few years back found that ⅔ of volunteer firefighters in the US report that their departments are underfunded with 86% of these heroic workers having to dip into their own pockets to buy supplies to keep their stations going. As I jot these statistics down, there is a runaway 10,000 acre wildfire burning a couple of hours north of me…

Meanwhile, is pointing out,

“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the end of the Great Recession, small businesses have created 62 percent of all net new private-sector jobs. Among those jobs, 66 percent were created by existing businesses, while 34 percent were generated through new establishments (adjusted for establishment closings and job losses)”.

When communities have Go Local-style business alliances, they are capitalizing on the ability to create jobs, increase sales, and build up tax revenue that could make a serious difference not just to local unemployment rates, but to local safety.

4) Shaping policy

In terms of empowering communities to shape policy, there are many anecdotes to choose from, but one of the most celebrated surrounds a landmark study conducted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance which documented community impacts of spending at the local book and music stores vs. a proposed Borders. Their findings were compelling enough to convince the city not to give a $2.1 million subsidy to the now-defunct corporation.

5) Improving the local environment

A single statistic here is incredibly eye opening. According to the US Department of Transportation, shopping-related driving per household more than tripled between 1969-2009.

All you have to do is picture to yourself the centralized location of mainstreet businesses vs. big boxes on the outskirts of town to imagine how city planning has contributed to this stunning rise in time spent on the road. When residents can walk or bike to make daily purchases, the positive environmental impacts are obvious.

6) Improving residents’ health and well-being

A recent Cigna survey of 20,000 Americans found that nearly half of them always or sometimes feel lonely, lacking in significant face-to-face interactions with others. Why does this matter? Because the American Psychological Association finds that you have a 50% less chance of dying prematurely if you have quality social interactions.

There’s a reason author Jan Karon’s “Mitford” series about life in a small town in North Carolina has been a string of NY Times Best Sellers; readers and reviewers continuously state that they yearn to live someplace like this fictitious community with the slogan “Mitford takes care of its own”. In the novels, the lives of residents, independent merchants, and “outsiders” interweave, in good times and bad, creating a support network many Americans envy.

This societal setup must be a winner, as well as a bestseller, because the Cambridge Journal of Regions published a paper in which they propose that the concentration of small businesses in a given community can be equated with levels of public health.

Beyond the theory that eating fresh and local is good for you, it turns out that knowing your farmer, your banker, your grocer could help you live longer.

7) Realizing big-picture goals

Speaking of memorable stories, this video from ILSR does a good job of detailing one view of the ultimate impacts independent business alliances can have on shaping community futures:

I interviewed author and AMIBA co-founder, Jeff Milchen, about the good things that can happen when independents join hands. He summed it up,

“The results really speak for themselves when you look at what the impact of public education for local alliances has been in terms of shifting culture. It’s a great investment for independent businesses to partner with other independents, to do things they can’t do individually. Forming these partnerships can help them compete with the online giants.”Getting going with a Go Local campaign, the right way

If sharing some of the above with clients has made them receptive to further exploration of what involvement in an independent business alliance might do for them, here are the next steps to take:

First, find out if a Go Local/Shop Local/Buy Local/Stay Local campaign already exists in the business’ community. If so, the client can join up.
If not, contact AMIBA. The good folks there will know if other local business owners in the client’s community have already expressed interest in creating an alliance. They can help connect the interested parties up.
I highly, highly recommend reading through Amiba’s nice, free primer covering just about everything you need to know about Go Local campaigns.
Encourage the client to publicize their intent to create an alliance if none exists in their community. Do an op ed in the local print news, put it on social media sites, talk to neighbors. This can prompt outreach from potential allies in the effort.
A given group can determine to go it alone, but it may be better to rely on the past experience of others who have already created successful campaigns. AMIBA offers a variety of paid community training modules, including expert speakers, workshops, and on-site consultations. Each community can write in to request a quote for a training plan that will work best for them. The organization also offers a wealth of free educational materials on their website.
According to AMIBA’s Jeff Milchen, a typical Buy Local campaign takes about 3-4 months to get going.

It’s important to know that Go Local campaigns can fail, due to poor execution. Here is a roundup of practices all alliances should focus on to avoid the most common pitfalls:

Codify the definition of a “local” business as being independently-owned-and-run, or else big chain inclusion will anger some members and cause them to leave.
Emphasize all forms of local patronage; campaigns that stick too closely to words like “buy” or “shop” overlook the small banks, service area businesses, and other models that are an integral part of the independent local economy.
Ensure diversity in leadership; an alliance that fails to reflect the resources of age, race, gender/identity, political views, economics and other factors may wind up perishing from narrow viewpoints. On a related note, AMIBA has been particularly active in advocating for business communities to rid themselves of bigotry. Strong communities welcome everyone.
Do the math of what success looks like; education is a major contributing factor to forging a strong alliance, based on projected numbers of what campaigns can yield in concrete benefits for both merchants and residents.
Differentiate inventory and offerings so that independently-owned businesses offer something of added value which patrons can’t easily replicate online; this could be specialty local products, face-to-face time with expert staff, or other benefits.
Take the high road in inspiring the community to increase local spending; campaigns should not rely on vilifying big and online businesses or asking for patronage out of pity. In other words, guilt-tripping locals because they do some of their shopping at Walmart or Amazon isn’t a good strategy. Even a 10% shift towards local spending can have positive impacts for a community!
Clearly assess community resources; not every town, city, or district hosts the necessary mix of independent businesses to create a strong campaign. For example, approximately 2.2% of the US population live in “food deserts”, many miles from a grocery store. These areas may lack other local businesses, as well, and their communities may need to create grassroots campaigns surrounding neighborhood gardens, mobile markets, private investors and other creative solutions.

In sum, success significantly depends on having clear definitions, clear goals, diverse participants and a proud identity as independents, devoid of shaming tactics.

Circling back to the Web — our native heath!

So, let’s say that your incoming client is now participating in a Buy Local program. Awesome! Now, where do we go from here?

In speaking with Jeff Milchen, I asked what he has seen in terms of digital marketing being used to promote the businesses involved in Buy Local campaigns. He said that, while some alliances have workshops, it’s a work in progress and something he hopes to see grow in the future.

As a Local SEO, that future is now for you and your fortunate clients. Here are some ways I see this working out beautifully:

Basic data distribution and consistency

Small local businesses can sometimes be unaware of inconsistent or absent local business listings, because the owners are just so busy. The quickest way I know to demo this scenario is to plug the company name and zip into the free Moz Check Listing tool to show them how they’re doing on the majors. Correct data errors and fill in the blanks, either manually, or, using affordable software like Moz Local. You’ll also want to be sure the client has a presence on any geo or industry-specific directories and platforms. It’s something your agency can really help with!

A hyperlocalized content powerhouse

Build proud content around the company’s involvement in the Buy Local program.

Write about all of the economic, environmental, and societal benefits residents can support by patronizing the business.
Motivated independents take time to know their customers. There are stories in this. Write about the customers and their needs. I’ve even seen independent restaurants naming menu items after beloved patrons. Get personal. Build community.
Don’t forget that even small towns can be powerful points of interest for tourists. Create a warm welcome for travelers, and for new neighbors, too!
Link building opportunities of a lifetime

Local business alliances form strong B2B bonds.

Find relationships with related businesses that can sprout links. For example, the caterer knows the wedding cake baker, who knows the professional seamstress, who knows the minister, who knows the DJ, who knows the florist.
Dive deep into opportunities for sponsoring local organizations, teams and events, hosting and participating in workshops and conferences, offering scholarships and special deals.
Make fast friends with local media. Be newsworthy.
A wellspring of sentiment

Independents form strong business-to-community bonds.

When a business really knows its customers, asking for online reviews is so much easier. In some communities, it may be necessary to teach customers how to leave reviews, but once you get a strategy going for this, the rest is gravy.
It’s also a natural fit for asking for written and video testimonials to be published on the company website.
Don’t forget the power of Word of Mouth Marketing, while you’re at it. Loyal patrons are an incredible asset.
The one drawback could be if your business model is one of a sensitive nature. Tight-knit communities can be ones in residents may be more desirous of protecting their privacy.Digitize inventory easily

30% of consumers say they’d buy from a local store instead of online if they knew the store was nearby (Google). Over half of consumers prefer to shop in-store to interact with products (Local Search Association). Over 63% of consumers would rather buy from a company they consider to be authentic over the competition (Bright Local).

It all adds up to the need for highly-authentic independently-owned businesses to have an online presence that signals to Internet users that they stock desired products. For many small, local brands, going full e-commerce on their website is simply too big of an implementation and management task. It’s a problem that’s dogged this particular business sector for years. And it’s why I got excited when the folks at AMIBA told me to check out Pointy.

Pointy offers a physical device that small business owners can attach to their barcode scanner to have their products ported to a Pointy-controlled webpage. But, that’s not all. Pointy integrates with the “See What’s In Store” inventory function of Google My Business Knowledge Panels. Check out Talbot’s Toyland in San Mateo, CA for a live example.

Pointy is a startup, but one that is exciting enough to have received angel investing from the founder of WordPress and the co-founder of Google Maps. Looks like a real winner to me, and it could provide a genuine answer for brick-and-mortar independents who have found their sales staggering in the wake of Amazon and other big digital brands.

Local SEOs have an important part to play

Satisfaction in work is a thing to be cherished. If the independent business movement speaks to you, bringing your local search marketing skills to these alliances and small brands could make more of your work days really good days.

The scenario could be an especially good fit for agencies that have specialized in city or state marketing. For example, one of our Moz Community members confines his projects to South Carolina. Imagine him taking it on the road a bit, hosting and attending workshops for towns across the state that are ready to revitalize main street. An energetic client roster could certainly result if someone like him could show local banks, grocery stores, retail shops and restaurants how to use the power of the local web!

Reading America

Our industry is living and working in complex times.

The bad news is, a current Bush-Biden poll finds that 8/10 US residents are “somewhat” or “very” concerned about the state of democracy in our nation.

The not-so-bad news is that citizen ingenuity for discovering solutions and opportunities is still going strong. We need only look as far as the runaway success of the TV show “Fixer Upper”, which drew 5.21 million viewers in its fourth season as the second-largest telecast of Q2 of that year. The show surrounded the revitalization of dilapidated homes and businesses in and around Waco, Texas, and has turned the entire town into a major tourist destination, pulling in millions of annual visitors and landing book deals, a magazine, and the Magnolia Home furnishing line for its entrepreneurial hosts.

While not every town can (or would want to) experience what is being called the “Magnolia effect”, channels like HGTV and the DIY network are heavily capitalizing on the rebirth of American communities, and private citizens are taking matters into their own hands.

There’s the family who moved from Washington D.C. to Water Valley, Mississippi, bought part of the decaying main street and began to refurbish it. I found the video story of this completely riveting, and look at the Yelp reviews of the amazing grocery store and lunch counter these folks are operating now. The market carries local products, including hoop cheese and milk from the first dairy anyone had opened in 50 years in the state.

There are the half-dozen millennials who are helping turn New Providence, Iowa into a place young families can live and work again. There’s Corning, NY, Greensburg, KS, Colorado Springs, CO, and so many more places where people are eagerly looking to strengthen community sufficiency and sustainability.

Some marketing firms are visionary forerunners in this phenomenon, like Deluxe, which has sponsored the Small Business Revolution show, doing mainstreet makeovers that are bringing towns back to life. There could be a place out there somewhere on the map of the country, just waiting for your agency to fill it.

The best news is that change is possible. A recent study in Science magazine states that the tipping point for a minority group to change a majority viewpoint is 25% of the population. This is welcome news at a time when 80% of citizens are feeling doubtful about the state of our democracy. There are 28 million small businesses in the United States – an astonishing potential educational force – if communities can be taught what a vote with their dollar can do in terms of giving them a voice. As Jeff Milchen told me:

“One of the most inspiring things is when we see local organizations helping residents to be more engaged in the future of their community. Most communities feel somewhat powerless. When you see towns realize they have the ability to shift public policy to support their own community, that’s empowering.”

Sometimes, the extremes of our industry can make our society and our democracy hard to read. On the one hand, the largest brands developing AI, checkout-less shopping, driverless cars, same-day delivery via robotics, and the gig economy win applause at conferences.

On the other hand, the public is increasingly hearing the stories of employees at these same companies who are protesting Microsoft developing face recognition for ICE, Google’s development of AI drone footage analysis for the Pentagon, working conditions at Amazon warehouses that allegedly preclude bathroom breaks and have put people in the hospital, and the various outcomes of the “Walmart Effect”.

The Buy Local movement is poised in time at this interesting moment, in which our democracy gets to choose. Gigs or unions? Know your robot or know your farmer? Convenience or compassion? Is it either/or? Can it be both?

Both big and small brands have a major role to play in answering these timely questions and shaping the ethics of our economy. Big brands, after all, have tremendous resources for raising the bar for ethical business practices. Your agency likely wants to serve both types of clients, but it’s all to the good if all business sectors remember that the real choosers are the “consumers”, the everyday folks voting with their dollars.

I know that it can be hard to find good news sometimes. But I’m hoping what you’ve read today gifts you with a feeling of optimism that you can take to the office, take to your independently-owned local business clients, and maybe even help take to their communities. Spark a conversation today and you may stumble upon a meaningful competitive advantage for your agency and its most local customers.

Every year, local SEOs are delving deeper and deeper into the offline realities of the brands they serve, large and small. We’re learning so much, together. It’s sometimes a heartbreaker, but always an honor, being part of this local journey.

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