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14 SEO Tips that Will Help Increase Organic Traffic to Your Blog

Posted by on Feb 2, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 14 SEO Tips that Will Help Increase Organic Traffic to Your Blog

14 SEO Tips that Will Help Increase Organic Traffic to Your Blog

If you run any sort of website or blog, you probably think about traffic a lot.

You might even be obsessively checking your daily organic traffic, looking to see how many new visitors came to your site.  At least that’s what I used to do, every time I published a new blog post.

However, increasing your website organic traffic is not as simple. 

The blogosphere is crowded, and these days just publishing engaging, useful information is not enough. There needs to be an ongoing marketing strategy to drive more organic traffic to your website. 

Here are 14 actionable SEO tips on how you can increase your organic traffic to your website.

1. Set up a Content Marketing Strategy and Calendar

Creating content is an integral part of SEO, although it requires time and resources.

You can provide more in-depth information on a blog to build authority in your niche. Regular posts will create an extensive catalog of content that is optimized for your readers. 

Google also loves fresh content, and they rank consistent bloggers highly. Besides, readers will spend a lot of time on your blog since there is always new content to consume. A longer average visit time for every visitor will translate to a good search engine ranking. 

It takes time to build authority sites, and you may even find that content that you wrote months ago is driving most of your current organic traffic. Once readers trust your influence in a particular segment, they will visit your website if they have queries. 

For a business blog, you can also work out all the events and holidays coming up in the year and work out how you can align these with the business. 

2. Advanced Keyword Research and Target Long-Tail Keywords

Established websites can get away with using highly competitive search terms and those with a high keyword search volume. The case is different for new sites, however, as they need a lot of organic traffic to build their brand. 

Long-tail keywords are intent-driven, and they typically have low competition and low search volume, but high conversion rates. 

To discover new long-tail keywords that you can use, type different seed keywords into Google, and take note of the auto-suggestions. When you type these suggestions, write down the related ideas on the bottom page. You can then curate long-tail keywords around what users are searching for. 

Target low hanging fruit

Use LSI keywords

3. Content Pillar and Supporting Pages

4. Optimize for Both Readers and Search Engines

Your content should speak to the intentions of your audience and also rank well in search engines. 

For Readers

You get carried away with trying to rank well in search engines that you forget about your audience. Your readers represent the traffic, and search engines only direct them to your site. 

Write for your buyer persona – address to your readers

Use platforms like Quora and Facebook to understand what your readers want, and then address these needs. You can enable comments if you would like two-way communication with your readers. While comments will build a community, you may have to moderate them and implement anti-spam measures. 

Sprinkle videos, links, and attention-grabbing images in your posts to break the monotony of text. You want your readers to enjoy browsing through your blog. Infographics are other fresh ways you can use to present information. 

Blog posts should be mobile-friendly so that your readers can consume them wherever they are. By incorporating social media sharing, your readers can share your content with other readers, which will increase organic traffic to your website. 

For Search Engines

Once you have created high-quality and persona-optimized content, it is time to set it up for SEO success. Spice up your posts with the appropriate keywords, but ensure you use them organically. Tools like Google Keyword Planner will help you predict how the keywords will perform. 

The title tags to your content should be relevant since it is the first thing that consumers see when going through result searches. Title tags also include meta descriptions, which are summaries of your content. A reader will quickly skim through the meta description to determine if the post has the kind of information that they are interested in. 

Your readers should take away something actionable from your post. Do-it-yourself tips are one way to empower your audience and drive more organic traffic. You can also identify and use authoritative sites as references so that search engines view your posts as accurate and relevant. 

5. Be Active on the Blogosphere and Social Media

Once your blog is up and running, it is time to build industry relationships with other players. Start by looking for authority publications in your niche to write for. Such publications have a large reader base that you can tap into for a consistent flow of backlinks. 

You can also leverage on different social media platforms to promote your brand. You will need to identify the platforms that are popular with your audience. Sites like Facebook and Twitter bring together diverse demographics and interests, but they are niche social media sites as well. 

Optimize your content for the site you are using to boost your organic traffic. Hashtags are, for example, useful tools on Instagram. You can build your authority on Quora as readers seek answers to industry-related questions. When answering queries, aim to be specific and passionate, and give your readers some useful takeaways. 

6. Dominate Features Snippets

Google’s featured snippets have become coveted SERP real estate since their introduction in 2016. The snippet gives information on a particular topic and cites a website. It ranks above the first result, which is the best position you can hope for your blog. If you provide content for Google’s featured snippet, you can expect your click-through rate to increase.

The primary types of featured snippets are paragraphs, lists, tables, and YouTube. Adding ‘How-To” sections in your posts is one way to optimize your content for snippets. 

Featured snippets are not only a reserve for well-ranking websites as Google also pulls content from lower-ranking SERPs. Utilize tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to discover the snippets that a particular site ranks for. 

To optimize your content for featured snippets, perform keyword research, and do a competitor analysis. You want to improve on what is already available by making it more valuable to consumers. Add a hook to your snippet to get organic traffic, and ensure that the blog post gives readers more than they came for. 

7. Use Data and Metrics to Optimize Your Results

Data and metrics will help you determine the effectiveness of the SEO strategies you have put in place. 

Google Analytics has many tools that will indicate the performance of your website and give you more information on your readers. This tool will analyze how you get your traffic, which can be through referrals, organic search, social media platforms, or other links. 

You will see the volume of sessions and the bounce rate of the traffic. Your social media traffic will tell you where your brand is performing best so that you know where to invest the most effort. You will also determine the rate of conversions that your campaigns are recording. 

Google Analytics includes behavior reports that will tell you how your readers navigate through your site. You can use the information to finetune your content and attract more organic traffic. 

8. Internal Linking

You should establish an internal linking structure that signposts related pages. This strategy will keep readers on your website for longer. 

9. Guest Blogging/ UGC

Guest blogging is another way to broaden your audience, and it starts by reaching out to industry influencers. Write compelling content and include backlinks to your site in your guest posts. 

10. Optimize your Meta Title

So the challenge now for any business or blog is to make sure that when people look for a product or service like yours, they find you and not your competitor. 

The meta title, URL, and description are important for an optimized web page or blog post. 

Keep your URL short and sweet, and make sure your meta title and description is intriguing and answer the search intent of the keyword you are targeting.  It’s simple but effective

13. Incorporate Video into Your Content Strategy

14. Make Sure You’re Offering Value 

Most importantly, always make sure you’re offering value.

If you’re writing a blog post, what is it people are going to take away after reading your post?  If you’re selling products or services, why would they buy from you rather than your competition? 

People will visit your site on a regular basis if you give them a reason to. That’s why it is important to always provide new, engaging, and thoughtful information on a regular basis. 

Conclusion

Blogging has become a high-stakes pursuit, and you have to learn SEO to have a fighting chance. At the base of any great SEO strategy is high-quality content, as this is what keeps your users on your site once they get there. Driving this traffic to your website is the more difficult part, but doing keyword research, analyzing your competitors, and optimizing your content for search engines and consumers is your best bet. 

SEO Forecasting in Google Sheets

Posted by on Feb 2, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on SEO Forecasting in Google Sheets

SEO Forecasting in Google Sheets

Posted by Tom.Capper

Way back in 2015, I published an article giving away a free, simple, forecasting tool, and talking through use cases for forecasting in SEO. It was a quick, effective way to see if a change to your site traffic is some kind of seasonality you can ignore, something to celebrate, or a worrying sign of traffic loss.

In short: you could enter in a series of data, and it would plot it out on a graph like the image above.

Five years later, I still get people — from former colleagues to complete strangers — asking me about this tool, and more often than not, I’m asked for a version that works directly in spreadsheets.

I find this easy to sympathize with: a spreadsheet is more flexible, easier to debug, easier to expand upon, easier to maintain, and a format that people are very familiar with.

The tradeoff when optimizing for those things is, although I’ve improved on that tool from a few years ago, I’ve still had to keep things manageable in the famously fickle programming environment that is Excel/Google Sheets. That means the template shared in this post uses a simpler, slightly less performant model than some tools with external code execution (e.g. Forecast Forge).

In this post, I’m going to give away a free template, show you how it works and how to use it, and then show you how to build your own (better?) version. (If you need a refresher on when to use forecasting in general, and concepts like confidence intervals, refer to the original article linked above.).

Types of SEO forecast

There is one thing I want to expand on before we get into the spreadsheet stuff: the different types of SEO forecast.

Broadly, I think you can put SEO forecasts into three groups:

“I’m feeling optimistic — add 20% to this year” or similar flat changes to existing figures. More complex versions might only add 20% to certain groups of pages or keywords. I think a lot of agencies use this kind of forecast in pitches, and it comes down to drawing on experience.Keyword/CTR models, when you estimate a ranking change (or sweeping set of ranking changes), then extrapolate the resulting change in traffic from search volume and CTR data (you can see a similar methodology here). Again, more complex versions might have some basis for the ranking change (e.g. “What if we swapped places with competitor A in every keyword of group X where they currently outrank us?”).Statistical forecast based on historical data, when you extrapolate from previous trends and seasonality to see what would happen if everything remained constant (same level of marketing activity by you and competitors, etc.).

Type two has its merits, but if you compare the likes of Ahrefs/SEMRush/Sistrix data to your own analytics, you’ll see how hard this is to generalize. As an aside, I don’t think type one is as ridiculous as it looks, but it’s not something I’ll be exploring any further in this post. In any case, the template in this post fits into type three.

What makes this an SEO forecast?

Why, nothing at all. One thing you’ll notice about my description of type three above is that it doesn’t mention anything SEO-specific. It could equally apply to direct traffic, for example. That said, there are a couple of reasons I’m suggesting this specifically as an SEO forecast:

We’re on the Moz Blog and I’m an SEO consultant.There are better methodologies available for a lot of other channels.

I mentioned that type two above is very challenging, and this is because of the highly non-deterministic nature of SEO and the generally poor quality of detailed data in Search Console and other SEO-specific platforms. In addition, to get an accurate idea of seasonality, you’d need to have been warehousing your Search Console data for at least a couple of years.

For many other channels, high quality, detailed historic data does exist, and relationships are far more predictable, allowing more granular forecasts. For example, for paid search, the Forecast Forge tool I mentioned above builds in factors like keyword-level conversion data and cost-per-click based on your historical data, in a way that would be wildly impractical for SEO.

That said, we can still combine multiple types of forecast in the template below. For example, rather than forecasting the traffic of your site as a whole, you might forecast subfolders separately, or brand/non-brand separately, and you might then apply percentage growth to certain areas or build in anticipated ranking changes. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves…

How to use the template

FREE TEMPLATE

The first thing you’ll need to do is make a copy (under the “File” menu in the top left, but automatic with the link I’ve included). This means you can enter your own data and play around to your heart’s content, and you can always come back and get a fresh copy later if you need one.

Then, on the first tab, you’ll notice some cells have a green or blue highlight:

You should only be changing values in the colored cells.

The blue cells in column E are basically to make sure everything ends up correctly labelled in the output. So, for example, if you’re pasting session data, or click data, or revenue data, you can set that label. Similarly, if you enter a start month of 2018-01 and 36 months of historic data, the forecast output will begin in January 2021.

On that note, it needs to be monthly data — that’s one of the tradeoffs for simplicity I mentioned earlier. You can paste up to a decade of historic monthly data into column B, starting at cell B2, but there are a couple of things you need to be careful of:

You need at least 24 months of data for the model to have a good idea of seasonality. (If there’s only one January in your historic data, and it was a traffic spike, how am I supposed to know if it was a one-off thing, or an annual thing?)You need complete months. So if it’s March 25, 2021 when you’re reading this, the last month of data you should include is February 2021.

Make sure you also delete any leftovers of my example data in column B.

Outputs

Once you’ve done that, you can head over to the “Outputs” tab, where you’ll see something like this:

Column C is probably the one you’re interested in. Keep in mind that it’s full of formulas here, but you can copy and paste as values into another sheet, or just go to File > Download > Comma-separated values to get the raw data.

You’ll notice I’m only showing 15 months of forecast in that graph by default, and I’d recommend you do the same. As I mentioned above, the implicit assumption of a forecast is that historical context carries over, unless you explicitly include changed scenarios like COVID lockdowns into your model (more on that in a moment!). The chance of this assumption holding two or three years into the future is low, so even though I’ve provided forecast values further into the future, you should keep that in mind.

The upper and lower bounds shown are 95% confidence intervals — again, you can recap on what that means in my previous post if you so wish.

Advanced use cases

You may by now have noticed the “Advanced” tab:

Although I said I wanted to keep this simple, I felt that given everything that happened in 2020, many people would need to incorporate major external factors into their model.

In the example above, I’ve filled in column B with a variable for whether or not the UK was under COVID lockdown. I’ve used “0.5” to represent that we entered lockdown halfway through March.

You can probably make a better go of this for the relevant factors for your business, but there are a few important things to keep in mind with this tab:

It’s fine to leave it completely untouched if you don’t want to add these extra variables.Go from left to right — it’s fine to leave column C blank if you’re using column B, but it’s not fine to leave B blank if you’re using C.If you’re using a “dummy” variable (e.g. “1” for something being active), you need to make sure you fill in the 0s in other cells for at least the period of your historic data.You can enter future values — for example, if you predict a COVID lockdown in March 2021 (you bastard!), you can enter something in that cell so it’s incorporated into the forecast.If you don’t enter future values, the model will predict based on this number being zero in the future. So if you’ve entered “branded PPC active” as a dummy variable for historic data, and then left it blank for future periods, the model will assume you have branded PPC turned off in the future.Adding too much data here for too few historic periods will result in something called “overfit” — I don’t want to get into detail on this, which is why this tab is called “Advanced”, but try not to get carried away.

Here’s some example use cases of this tab for you to consider:

Enter whether branded PPC was active (0 or 1)Enter whether you’re running TV ads or notEnter COVID lockdowns Enter algorithm updates that were significant to your business (one column per update)
Why are my estimates different to your old tool? Is one of them wrong?

There’s two major differences in method between this template and my old tool:

The old tool used Google’s Causal Impact library, the new template uses an Ordinary Least Squares regression.The old tool captured non-linear trends by using time period squared as a predictive variable (e.g. month 1 = 1, month 2 = 4, month 3 = 9, etc.) and trying to fit the traffic curve to that curve. This is called a quadratic regression. The new tool captures non-linear trends by fitting each time period as a multiple of the previous time period (e.g. month 1 = X * month 2 where X can be any value). This is called an AR(1) model.

If you’re seeing a significant difference in the forecast values between the two, it almost certainly comes down to the second reason, and although it adds a little complexity, in the vast majority of cases the new technique is more realistic and flexible.

It’s also far less likely to predict zero or negative traffic in the case of a severe downwards trend, which is nice.

How does it work?

There’s a hidden tab in the template where you can take a peek, but the short version is the “LINEST()” spreadsheet formula.

The inputs I’m using are:

Dependent variablesWhatever you put as column B in the inputs tab (like traffic)Independent variablesLinear passing of timePrevious period’s trafficDummy variables for 11 months (12th month is represented by the other 11 variables all being 0)Up to three “advanced” variables

The formula then gives a series of “coefficients” as outputs, which can be multiplied with values and added together to form a prediction like:

“Time period 10” traffic = Intercept + (Time Coefficient * 10) + (Previous Period Coefficient * Period 9 traffic)

You can see in that hidden sheet I’ve labelled and color-coded a lot of the outputs from the Linest formula, which may help you to get started if you want to play around with it yourself.

Potential extensions

If you do want to play around with this yourself, here are some areas I personally have in mind for further expansion that you might find interesting:

Daily data instead of monthly, with weekly seasonality (e.g. dip every Sunday)Built-in growth targets (e.g. enter 20% growth by end of 2021)

Richard Fergie, whose Forecast Forge tool I mentioned a couple of times above, also provided some great suggestions for improving forecast accuracy with fairly limited extra complexity:

Smooth data and avoid negative predictions in extreme cases by taking the log() of inputs, and providing an exponent of outputs (smoothing data may or may not be a good thing depending on your perspective!).Regress on the previous 12 months, instead of using the previous 1 month + seasonality (this requires 3 years’ minimum historical data)

I may or may not include some or all of the above myself over time, but if so I’ll make sure I use the same link and make a note of it in the spreadsheet, so this article always links to the most up-to-date version.

If you’ve made it this far, what would you like to see? Let me know in the comments!

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PPC award winners talk strategies for competitive times, industries, and marketplaces

Posted by on Jan 31, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on PPC award winners talk strategies for competitive times, industries, and marketplaces

In an interview with contributor Matt Van Wagner, the SEM initiative Search Engine Land Award winners talked about their strategies for a donation campaign combatting news searches during the bushfires in Australia, improving CRO in the very competitive financial services space, and improving margins for seasonal retail campaigns on Amazon. Watch the video below to check out the tactics:

Best Overall SEM Initiative – Small Business

Matt Eden, Head of Performance Media at Reef Digital Agency

Tell us about your campaign, Matt.

Matt: The Vincent Paul Society approached us in late December about running a bushfire campaign. With bushfire campaigns, in particular, because Australia goes through this cycle of having bushfires, we usually have a build that’s ready to go. This one was a bit different because the crisis was much larger than we’ve ever had before. We tend to run our campaigns using broad-match modifiers initially. And then whittle down the list as quickly as we can with negative keywords and running those across just single keyword efforts.

I logged into it the next day at 9 am. And within that period it had raised already about $10,000 to $15,000. We’ve had a $10,000 budget that was due to run until January 11, but given just the amount of traffic, the amount of volume that was coming in the client quickly increased that because there was just a huge overwhelming number of donations that were coming in. So then we used that skeleton build that we had and then iterated on that and make it adaptable to 2019.

What were some of the challenges of that because it sounds like it moved very quickly? What surprised you on this campaign?

Matt: The big surprise was the number of donations that came in. When we look back to the end of last year, there were so many charities, so many news outlets, so many people on social media that were trying to drive donations and drive awareness, particularly for rural Australia. So what surprised me was there was still an enormous volume of users coming through, in spite of all this competition that was out there. We call it competition because everyone’s kind of fighting for the same thing, which is really just to drive donations for those areas. But it was really just the number of people that were still there that worked that wanted to donate, and it just maintained momentum; it didn’t stop. 

One of the biggest challenges was trying to avoid news outlets. Because we were on broad match

modifier, we wanted to avoid overlapping with any news outlets, anyone that might be searching for news, “bushfires near me” there was a huge amount of volume for keywords like that, looking at the live map to see where fires were, where they needed to be evacuated. Just avoiding all of that, or that sort of traffic, and actually wanting to stay away from it as much as possible. 

From what I understood that you noticed, and this was very clever, but you notice that the weather patterns or smoke patterns and influence on your campaigns and even react to that, you know, we have all these levers in front of us with you know all of the demographic and geographic and time of day. Tell me a little bit about what that was all about.

Matt: In Sydney, where I am, quite often a lot of the days, it was covered in smoke. And that would get a bit of a media uptick, you get a bit of news coverage out of that. So we’d upweight our bid, we were just running enhanced CPC for this as opposed to the bidding strategies, we would upweight our bid on those days in particular. But we’d also upweight them on days when there was controversial news coverage. I don’t know how much you saw, but our Prime Minister kind of dropped the ball several times with a bushfire crisis. So really upweighting the bids there as well, because we knew people would be looking and knew people would be active.

Best B2B Search Marketing Initiative – SEM

Christian Nicolini, VP of Paid Media at Ignite Visibility

Matt just talked about hammering home a couple of really powerful tactics and using them very effectively one-off, but you’ve had to do something different in a highly competitive marketplace. So if you can, tell us the story. And what the challenges were and what you had to do with paid search in order to make them successful.

Christian: This particular client is in the financial services space, seven-figure budget, very explicit acquisition goals. We’ve been working with the client for the last three years. We were coming up on the measurement period, which was March 1 through December 31 year over year. And we had just come off of our best year after acquiring this client from a previous agency. We had a lot to improve on if we wanted to beat year over your numbers, which, in turn, was about 40% year over year. 

And simply put, the conditions have revolved around four key search marketing pillars. Internally, our team is made up of disciplines such as our data science program, our search program, our creative, and CRO program. And we try to create the synergy between all these programs to allow us to achieve a really ambitious goal without increasing much of a budget. 

That goal was personalizing the search results, maximizing exposure in a high-value auction using impression share strategies, curating a landing page experience using dynamic elements on the site, and then bridging that gap between online and offline conversion tracking. And what I’ve found is we have to push back information from an open opportunity, a lead, and then push back the scoring of those leads and closed opportunities back as low as they keyword level, and even the creative level, and then being able to differentiate what segments of our marketing images are impacting the highest quality of leads coming through. 

And I know you were talking about challenges prior with Matt, and with us the competitiveness of this auction is a challenge within itself. CPC is extremely high–closing in on the three digits, typically between $50-80 CPCs depending on the type of service that we’re bidding on. The client really struggled to hit a specific CPA target while scaling the budget. Of course, you can scale the budget, but maintaining the CPA that we needed was a difficult challenge. 

On top of that, fending off competitors with brand search. Insulating against our competitors was a challenge within itself and making sure that we are always going after net-new opportunities and not expanding our budgets and brand search environments where the competition wasn’t necessarily as relevant. 

When it comes to maintaining on-site conversion rate, when you typically scale enterprise search like this, dealing with budgets in the seven figures, it’s really easy to buy traffic. What’s harder to do is buy a ton of traffic and convert that traffic and try to maintain that conversion rate. So we had to bring in some resources on the CRO front, which enabled us to overall increase our engagement rate at the ad level. We were able to leverage impression share bid strategies and analytics to maximize our exposure while keeping costs down. And we were able to maintain our on-site conversion rate while increasing our reach and traffic to our site by incorporating a really disciplined CRO strategy.

Best Retail Search Marketing Initiative – SEM

Brittany Oliverio, Director of Channel Solutions at Sidecar

You were working in a retail space which is pretty competitive. Margins are always a challenge there. Can you tell us a bit about what the problem was, what the market looked like, and what you were able to do and how you’re able to do it?

Brittany: Amazon charges fees just to advertise simply advertise as a couple of different fulfillment methods that they layer on extra fees. So generally when advertising on Amazon margins are slimmer, than when advertising on other channels. Due to this, a lot of our customers have some issues with advertising and their margins and need to make sure that they are obviously making money on their lower margin products.

Summit Sports sells outdoor apparel and equipment ranging from boats to snow gear and ski equipment. THeir products were not only seasonal, but in different seasons. They were having a hard time figuring out how to set up their campaigns when some of their products were higher and lower margins as well as seasonal.

We started off by looking at brands, product types, and actual individual use to see where the different margins lie, and how it made sense to break out the campaigns. We found that the their private label items, as you would suspect, had higher margins than the third party items. We took that data and were able to break the brands out into separate campaigns. We worked with the ebbs and flows of their peak seasons and low seasons as well as the margin differences to set up different cost of sale goals across the different campaigns that we had set up.

You had to feed some sales and margin data into your bidding system. How was that? Was that easy? Was there a lot of manual connection? What did you do?

Brittany: It definitely took a lot of work on our back end internal tools. This is a strategy that we had used previously, across some of our Google customers that we saw worked pretty well. It is newer in Amazon, just due to the newness of the platform and not having all of the capabilities that Google does. So we worked pretty hard to update our internal technology to be able to ingest the data, and therefore make data-driven decisions off of the margin. So we were able to set different cost of sale goals per campaign based off of the margin data, because they had different goals per campaign. Then our technology would look at the data and make it adjustments according to those cost of sale goals that we had set up.

What what was the biggest surprise? Did it that it happened quickly? Did it did it take a lot of iteration?

Brittany: I think the biggest surprise was that it worked pretty quickly. A lot of data needs to be ingested in order for our technology to make these decisions. But given that we’ve worked with some in sports, for a bit of time before we decided to implement this strategy, we had enough data to work off of. We were able to make some pretty impactful adjustments pretty quickly. We increased their revenue significantly within two of their marketplaces while remaining at their cost of sales, which was the main priority.

Watch the video above for more tips from the Search Engine Land SEM Initiative Awards winners.

The post PPC award winners talk strategies for competitive times, industries, and marketplaces appeared first on Search Engine Land.

The Wrong People Won

Posted by on Jan 30, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The Wrong People Won

The Wrong People Won

My initial attraction toward SEO and the web was largely that it was like a new and parallel world that bypassed many traditional gatekeepers.

I wrote an ebook which originally had inconsistent formatting and it was riddled with spelling and grammar errors. I learned to write by writing poorly and often while reading great writers daily.

Ultimately it did not matter that my efforts were subpar on some fronts as few people read early copies, and I was receptive to feedback on how to improve it and rapidly did.

The above process … growing while few people see your ugly work … is actually one of the advantages of *NOT* taking venture capital. You get to learn at your own pace while risks are low and only really lean into something when you know it is working. You keep making small bets that won’t kill you and then when something works better than you expect you can *REALLY* lean into it.

I ultimately did that with SEO, blogging, and a couple other areas I can’t mention too much as I had partners on some projects.

This blog never even started as its own site. It was a section on a different site that was spun out to become its own site when it was obvious blogs were being algorithmically over-promoted due to the cross linking from other bloggers and the instant exposure RSS feeds offered.

Instead of begging a book publisher to publish a book I had a higher margin product and the book publishers were begging me. The market was inverted and an outcast won by bypassing traditional gatekeepers.

When SEO was easy it was the same sort of deal. As long as you tried to learn about what the algorithms valued & put effort behind it you could rank for almost anything.

Early on that meant begging, buying, or borrowing links any way you could. If a project was throwing off big money you’d try public relations and to get high quality links to help reinforce the position and increase its longevity. But even junky links worked fantastic back in the day. That’s part of why there was so much blog comment spam, referrer spam, expired domains, cheeseball web directories which actually had pagerank in the URL, article directories, private blog networks, all sorts of other paid links like Text-Link-Ads.com, etc. etc. etc.

New channels provide new opportunities. Small players prove the model, drive adoption, and then over time the affiliate or independent publisher is replaced by some big publisher or a scrape-n-displace offering from the central market operators.

If you take a broad enough view of the world the above sort of water cycle repeatedly happens across all media formats and channels.

New channels emerge
Smaller players and hobbyists are attracted to the new and shiny object
Limited competition & regulation
Channel grows wildly
Channel locked down by regulation or a monopoly

When the channels are new they have the greatest chance of failure, but the biggest potential rewards for early adopters.

As channels are established and competition increases almost all the profit margins get handed over to the central market operator. Everything gets adjust on an “as needed” basis. Anything that hands too much of the profits over to a third party publisher gets cloned by the central network operator, becomes against the terms of service, or is algorithmically or manually neutralized by the central market operators.

affiliates used to be able to sit at the end of the conversion funnel and extract profits from the most valuable keywords, but new algorithmic signals make it hard to stay competitive with limited value add, differentiation, or brand building
commercial keywords are all ads in the search results above the fold & many brands feel the need to bid on their pre-existing brand equity for defensive purposes
Google hid keyword data from organic search & later started to hide some from paid search campaigns as well.
the Chrome browser by default only allows extensions to be downloaded from their official store & while Google got a lot of Chrome distribution through negative option bundling on Flash security updates, they prohibit app bundling in their app store
Apple’s iOS and Google Android allow the central network operators to track third party app usage. The Apple Appstore and Google Play have mandatory 30% rakes and may disallow certain widely used apps after those features have been baked into the operating system or cloned and default bundled on new phones.
YouTube takes a 45% revenue share rake & the ad inventory is sold exclusively through Google tools where Google takes up to another 20% rake off the top
Amazon uses your sales data and product design to create what amounts to an effective clone job of it (going so far as to say there are fake safety issues to demand to see where it was manufactured) and then you are forced to bid on your own brand as Amazon gives itself free ads on your brand for their product clone job
Google and Facebook try to suck content into their networks via Instant Articles and AMP. Google gives AMP priority placement in their search results (just like they did previously with Google+, Google Checkout, Google Base / Google Shopping / YouTube / etc etc etc).
Rather than competing, Google and Facebook partnered to illegally bid rig auctions to destroy header bidding & preserve monopoly profit margins, keeping control over external publishers. Google also pushes “privacy” obfuscation which harms third party publishers and third party ad networks while bypassing those firewalls for its own ad network. They are also looking to use their web browser to do away with cookies, further kneecapping other ad networks.
Early Pinterest Ads sent users offsite and often cost only a couple cents a visit while all the internal cross promotion & viral spread across Pinterest was effectively free. Then over time advertisers start getting charged for pins even being opened and getting a user to actually leave Pinterest and click through can cost $5 or $10 a click. Long after I saw Reddit threads about how I was a washed up hack who could not compete in the modern market I literally used Pinterest to seed the growth of a site which now gets about a million organic search visits a month. I recently tried further promoting that site on Pinterest in some new areas, but the economics no longer works for that particular site on that channel.

If you play by the rules suggested by private market participants you are betting that they won’t dramatically change their ecosystem at the drop of a hat and they won’t compete against you.

And that bet is a REALLY bad bet.

Networks do not stay on top & in control by stagnating. They change with society & if they are influential enough they also change the structure of society.

The Texas AG lawsuit of Google for manipulating the online display ad market lays bare how power works:

Google employees agreed that, in the future, they should not directly lie to publishers, but instead find ways to convince publishers to act against their interest and remove header bidding on their own.

I could easily write a 100 page blog post on that lawsuit while feeling guilty for leaving many things out.

For example, did you know Google stole AdSense earnings from publishers in the AdTrader ad network and lied about refunding that money to advertisers as AdTrader also managed some of the advertiser accounts which got a $0.00 rebate:

We confirmed through multiple sources, both within and outside of Google, through our Google invoices, and data collected from Google APIs that Google never actually refunded any of the confiscated publisher earnings to the advertisers. In fact, Google’s own support team admitted that they never had a system in place for such refunds.

Google is the network I have studied most and know the most about, though others certainly know Facebook equally well. All the large networks growth the predacious exploits.

Even with limited Facebook usage I know they have at various points in time promoted: games, hype headline fake news, lists and viral quiz junk from Buzzfeed, real actual news sites, the Instant Articles version of real actual news, live video, friend content, etc. Facebook also bought Onavo, a VPN network to track the growth of competing apps. That data was used to inform their WhatsApp purchase. And they could see which features from what external networks they should clone, like when Instagram copied much of SnapChat’s offering.

You can follow the Facebook terms of service in everything you do, but the odds of that delivering you real and sustainable profit streams is low.

“You can be unethical and still be legal that’s the way I live my life” – Mark Zuckerberg

Few publishers will be experts at both optimizing for the flaw or overpromotion in the current algorithm or network set up AND being good at reinventing themselves to appeal to the algorithms of tomorrow. You ultimately want to use some of any excess profits to build a destination people seek out so you are less dependent on the central network operators.

At the same time, if you ignore the algorithms and just hope for the best you are probably going to lose to a competitor who clones most of your strategy AND manipulates the result set.

You sort of have to figure out what is being over-promoted today AND then try to figure out what will matter tomorrow, while reinvesting profits to the point you are no longer really faking it until you make it.

Realizing that all success is temporary is vital to encourage yourself to take advantage of the opportunities in front of you, while also ensuring you have a plan B in place that acts as a bridge to tomorrow in case your primary channel bombs.

Almost all profit margins (particularly for newer players lacking access to connections, massive cashflows, strong legacy brands, etc.) come from operating somewhere in the gray area. Behave in a manner that is legal, but push the boundaries of terms from other players.

Google funded eHow. Demand Media was ultimately a pump and dump operation. Those who followed it late got their asses handed to them, but those who got in early had plenty of profits they could reinvest in other lower risk ventures. At one point Mahalo publicly listed their page-level earnings data. One of my buddies went through and put that keyword list through TextBroker and uploaded a few hundred articles to an old blog. After about a year that led to a free house for one of their family members. 😀

Now Google has far more data to use so it is hard to be anywhere near as exploitative or lowbrow as an eHow or a Mahalo was and expect that stuff to back out.

When Matt Cutts was on TWIG in 2013 he stated:

If you want to stop spam, the most straight forward way to do it is to deny people money because they care about the money and that should be their end goal. But if you really want to stop spam, it is a little bit mean, but what you want to do, is break their spirits. There are parts of Google algorithms specifically designed to frustrate spammers. Some of the things we do is give people a hint their site will drop and then a week or two later, their site actually does drop. So they get a little bit more frustrated. So hopefully, and we’ve seen this happen, people step away from the dark side and say, you know what, that was so much pain and anguish and frustration, let’s just stay on the high road from now on.

Some of the stuff I like best is when people say “you know what, this SEO stuff is too unpredictable, I am just going to write some apps.”

This past year is the year when “writing some apps” was revealed to have the same core problems that SEO has. Central market operators grabbing their tithings (fight between Apple and entities like Spotify and Epic Games, Google Play pushing through similar 30% rake requirements) and then outright banning apps like Parler from their app stores.

The COVID-19 pandemic moved everyone and everything online.

The ad money follows the attention stream. If the central network operators pay creators nothing then those creators who have a following will find other ways to monetize. Cygnus was early to SEO and he was early to influencer marketing.

Selling a sliver of attention and then using that funds flow to improve website usability, website design, content quality, brand awareness, reach, etc. … is usually going to work out better for most people than trying to raise venture capital. Many small bets and incremental improvements yields much higher odds of success than a few really big bets.

Speaking of bets, I follow the stock market a bit because it teaches a lot about human psychology, markets and marketing.

Well before the COVID-19 crisis happened the repo market froze. In fact, the Federal Reserve was discussing alternative ways to fund the market’s liquidity without looking like they were directly subsidizing and bailing out hedge funds:

the new approach could also create political problems for policy makers, analysts said. The problem centers on the central bank lending directly to hedge funds, the little-regulated investment vehicles that tend to serve wealthy or institutional investors. … Though hedge funds are key participants in the market—where they both borrow and lend cash—lending to them directly through the FICC would raise questions about whether the government was backstopping their bets, analysts said.

When the COVID-19 crisis happened optics no longer mattered. Bailouts ensued. Without them levered hedge funds were screwed as many instruments became illiquid and spreads blew out even in bedrock stable markets:

Of particular concern: The hedge funds were using trading strategies similar to those employed by Long-Term Capital Management, a fund that collapsed in 1998 and nearly caused a financial meltdown. The bet that hedge funds were making earlier this year was simple enough. Called a basis trade, it involved exploiting a price difference in the Treasury market, generally by selling Treasury futures contracts — promises to deliver a bond or note at a set price on a set date — and buying the comparatively cheap underlying securities.

Toward the end of last year and early this year Bitcoin was a rocket ship on the thesis of mass money printing leading to currency debasement and revaluing finite alternatives to fiat cash upward.

And then regulators began dropping hints while banks started to put the breaks on it. And XRP got kicked hard by the SEC, leading to delisting.

Tether may be an absolute scam (it’s hard to short Patio11’s knowledge), but in spite of that there are a lot of retail traders bored at home chasing anything that moves. There are ETFs like GBTC sucking up a huge share of the Bitcoin float with no intent of ever liquidating any of the position.

If sports and society shut down and people are stuck in their homes gambling is an unsurprising source of entertainment. Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy got this and quickly became a day trader when he didn’t have any sports to talk about. 😀

Above I mentioned a bit how the Federal Reserve was ultimately bailing out hedge funds. In an easy money market where central banks are printing tons of money what a lot of hedge funds do is buy higher beta growth names while shorting lower beta value stocks, particularly if they feel those companies are destined to go under.

In some cases the short bets believe ideas from a category apply to a specific company in a way they do not. And that can lead to a massive short squeeze, especially if the company announces a buyback and/or insiders buy.

In other cases, the shorts are so confident in their position, they go HOG WILD with low interest leverage and literally short the entire float of a company, trying to drive it into bankruptcy.

Recently Melvin Capital and some other well-connected hedge funds went short GameStop’s stock and a Subreddit named WallStreetBets took the other side of that position.

GME has a 52-week low of $2.57. After being pumped by the Subreddit the stock closed today at $347.51, leading to billions in losses for hedge funds which shorted over 100% of the stock.

According to @S3Partners, short sellers lost $14.3 billion on $GME stock today… just today.— Riley de León (@RileyCNBC) January 27, 2021

The hedge funds that shorted over 100% of a stock … were market manipulators aiming to manipulate a market.

When they win, that is capitalism.

When they lose, they get bailed out, contact regulators and have pressure applied to prevent THE WRONG PEOPLE from winning.

There are over 2.6 million Wall Street Bet users and only 10,000 hedge funds. The power of the proletariat is now!— Reddit Investors (@redditinvestors) January 27, 2021

The SEC published a statement on market volatility, the Biden administration mentioned it was watching GameStop, Nasdaq’s CEO suggested halting trading to allow hedge funds to steamroll Reddit users, the Discord group for WallStreetBets was shut down, and Reddit (at least temporarily) banned the WallStreetBets subreddit for hate speech.

That WallStreetBets was temporarily nuked will likely make the degenerate gamblers even more aggressive.

Emergency Press Conference – The Suits Shut Down @wallstreetbets @WSBChairman My prediction is tomorrow will be intergalactic for $amc $gme $nok

(Im not a financial adviser. Don’t listen to me) pic.twitter.com/oYrsPOz8Vx— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) January 28, 2021

You can see a lot of moves coming if you understand internet culture.

does one throw one, two, three, four, or five hundy at $TR on open? :)— uoɹɐɐ (@aaronwall) January 26, 2021

But in many ways we are now where the outcomes will be pre-determined in order to ensure THE RIGHT PEOPLE win.

Wall Street Bets does to the suits what the suits have been doing to main street for a century. Then one call to Reddit, one call to Discord, one call to Robinhood…

It there anyone out there who still doesn’t think the system is rigged against the little guys?— Tyler Winklevoss (@tyler) January 28, 2021

Politicians will determine outcomes after the fact.

I’m assuming that the next time a hedge fund starts to make too much money shorting and destroying a business, that they will be de-platformed from their Blomberg terminal and throttled by their prime broker in the name of orderly markets and consumer protection.— Tyler Winklevoss (@tyler) January 28, 2021

The more THE WRONG PEOPLE win, the more intervention there will be to correct the natural order.

The Fed throws in trillions in liquidity & stocks fly higher it’s cool.
Pelosi loads up on $TSLA calls the stock flies higher it’s cool.
Bunch of little retail guys load up on calls & stocks fly higher it requires White House & Treasury monitoring & servers get shut down.

Right.— Sven Henrich (@NorthmanTrader) January 28, 2021

Risk is much higher than most perceive because outcomes matter more than process & some multi-generational politically-connected wealth is losing badly to THE WRONG PEOPLE.

Gamestop:
Perhaps they got lucky.
Maybe just a flash in pan.
So dismiss them if u want.
But if read their messages u see its not just about money.
They’re discovering their voice.
& that they’re powerful.
IMO this is partly why wont be so easy for Fed to bailout Eurodollar Mkt…— Santiago Capital (@SantiagoAuFund) January 28, 2021

An upstart online stock broker set trade commission prices to zero. Other brokers followed. And now that broker is telling stock buyers which tickers they are no longer allowed to buy.

Robinhood will not allow opening positions in $GME $AMC $BB $BBBY $NOK $KOSS $NAKD— Open Outcrier (@OpenOutcrier) January 28, 2021

When THE WRONG PEOPLE win we find our two sided markets become one way trades.

It’s hard to find market manipulation more flagrant than this, but since it’s being done to protect the wealthiest and most powerful — Wall St oligarchs who own and control the establishment wings of both parties — it’s very hard to imagine the government treating it as such: https://t.co/VJnXpMAqkJ— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 28, 2021

Can that be called a marketplace or even an attempt at a remotely honest market?

No.

And it is even worse than it looked initially, as Robinhood not only prevented customers from buying $GME stock, but created a cascading wave of selling by placing “theft by conversion” forced sell orders at market on customer accounts.

They are automatically selling shares. pic.twitter.com/o9XCdL9ND1— Sunny (@555Sunny) January 28, 2021

That is fraudulent, criminal market manipulation.

When hedge funds ‘collude’ and discuss top picks at Ira Sohn (and prices move as they speak), that is legal + legit.

When 2.5 million retail investors spot an opportunity to make money and ‘collude’, that is totally illegal + not legit.

Brokers then collude to screw them!— Puru Saxena (@saxena_puru) January 28, 2021

Only losers actually eat creative destruction:

“just like 2008, trading was shut down to save the hides of erstwhile high priests of “creative destruction.” Also just like 2008, there are calls for the government to investigate the people deemed responsible for unapproved market losses. … it was all well and good for investment banks and executives of phoney-baloney companies to gorge themselves on funhouse profits on a funhouse economy, but when amateurs decided to funnel just a bit of this clown show into their own pockets, finance pros wailed like the grave of Adam Smith had been danced upon.”

We are now at the point that the internet is no longer a spot for weirdo outcasts & instead it is reshaping the rest of society.

If you’re looking for an analog on how Citadel might be playing this Melvin/$GME/@RobinhoodApp fiasco, remember that back in the early 2000’s Citadel invested in Comscore so they could get exclusive rights to their traffic data DAYS before anyone else. Same game, different name— PAA Research (@ActAccordingly) January 29, 2021

Part of a person as awful as Trump getting elected as president was micro-targeted South Park inspired videos sent to minorities reminding them of Hillary Clinton’s super predators speech.

And who could forget her laughing about having the head of Libya murdered, a former nation which fell apart to such an extreme degree they had open air slave auctions.

Another part of Trump getting elected was Obama promising “Hope and Change” but then standing between banks and pitchforks for the intentional and malicious fraud that led to the 2008 economic blowup.

As it turns out, a Citigroup insider had the Obama cabinet picked out before he was even elected.

Citigroup was the biggest TARP recipient.

Citicorp is the same company which illegally merged with Travelers, then had that merger made legal after the fact by getting the Great Depression era Glass-Steagall Act regulation repealed:

”I think we will look back in 10 years’ time and say we should not have done this but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930’s is true in 2010,” said Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota. ”I wasn’t around during the 1930’s or the debate over Glass-Steagall. But I was here in the early 1980’s when it was decided to allow the expansion of savings and loans. We have now decided in the name of modernization to forget the lessons of the past, of safety and of soundness.”

After the internet stock bubble popped the Federal Reserve lowered rates dramatically and left them there far too long, creating a massive hunt for yield. This led to a housing bubble and deteriorating loan standards with fog-a-mirror NINJA loans and similar dominating the market due to the insatiable demand for “risk free” yield. Entities like Citigroup created a ton of bogus mortgage paper they knew was garbage. Their entire board of advisors was repeatedly emailed by Richard M. Bowden about the fraud:

I started issuing warnings in June of 2006 and attempted to get management to address these critical risk issues. These warnings continued through 2007 and went to all levels of the Consumer Lending Group. We continued to purchase and sell to investors even larger volumes of mortgages through 2007. And defective mortgages increased during 2007 to over 80% of production.

If you control the government economic outcomes are determined by politics.

Citigroup was so confident in their control of the political outcomes they continued to dump bad loans on the FHA after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were forced into receivership.

THE RIGHT PEOPLE WON.

“Squeezing the oligarchs, though, is seldom the strategy of choice among emerging-market governments. Quite the contrary: at the outset of the crisis, the oligarchs are usually among the first to get extra help from the government, such as preferential access to foreign currency, or maybe a nice tax break, or—here’s a classic Kremlin bailout technique—the assumption of private debt obligations by the government. Under duress, generosity toward old friends takes many innovative forms. Meanwhile, needing to squeeze someone, most emerging-market governments look first to ordinary working folk—at least until the riots grow too large. Eventually, as the oligarchs in Putin’s Russia now realize, some within the elite have to lose out before recovery can begin. It’s a game of musical chairs: there just aren’t enough currency reserves to take care of everyone, and the government cannot afford to take over private-sector debt completely.

From long years of experience, the IMF staff knows its program will succeed—stabilizing the economy and enabling growth—only if at least some of the powerful oligarchs who did so much to create the underlying problems take a hit.

But there’s a deeper and more disturbing similarity: elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

The third Citigroup bailout, in late February, converted government-owned preferred stock to common stock at a price significantly higher than the market price—a subsidy that probably even most Wall Street Journal readers would miss on first reading.” – Simon Johnson, The Quiet Coup

Any government which intentionally subsidizes and promotes massive fraud undermines its legitimacy.

Obama was so rotten he made Trump look like a reasonable choice.

Who were the people hurt worst by Citigroup’s fraud?

Poor minorities.

So it should come as no surprise Citigroup published “research” on how racism is holding back the U.S. economy.

Don’t blame us for stealing your house, crashing the economy, and causing millions of people to lose their jobs. Instead, blame white people. Perhaps you could hit an old white man walking down the street in the back of the head with a brick and upload your crime videos to your social media channels. #hope #change

If Obama the president matched Obama the candidate the Citigroup board would have been imprisoned, that bank would have been dismantled, and the above “research” would not have been published.

“I was in my early teens during the ’08 crisis. I vividly remember the enormous repercussions that the reckless actions by those on Wall Street had in my personal life, and the lives of those close to me. I was fortunate – my parents were prudent and a little paranoid, and they had some food storage saved up. When that crisis hit our family, we were able to keep our little house, but we lived off of pancake mix, and powdered milk, and beans and rice for a year. Ever since then, my parents have kept a food storage, and they keep it updated and fresh. Those close to me, my friends and extended family, were not nearly as fortunate.” – ssauronn

Income & wealth inequality – particularly if it is driven from the combination of the offshoring of the industrial base Clinton & Bush did then the sort of fraud Citigroup did – often leads to a breakdown of cooperation across society, and then, arbitrary violence.

If you make people’s lives miserable and tell them they are victims many of them will believe you.

Some of them will live down to the standards you set and see any isolated incident as a pattern of conduct which deserves retribution.

The media tells people economics is violence, words are violence, they are victims, they are owed something, and … surprise … that drives violence.

Violence is a (temporary) shortcut to status for young men with lots of testosterone but limited prospects or success in society.

Growing up in a single parent home on welfare only adds further fuel to that fire because there is not only a sense of entitlement and unfairness, but often elevated stress levels and a deep sense of shame and resentment.

I now have a 4 year old daughter. I have screwed up a great many things in life, but I don’t know anybody more confident than she is.

When my wife was pregnant with our only kid I nearly died from a sepsis infection & my daughter was nearly a miscarriage.

The above is not hyperbole.

Here I was in the hospital getting multiple IV antibiotics.

When they told me I might die soon I was like “oh well, that’s that.”

Then my wife came over and heard that & was crying uncontrollably. I then realized the sort of cascading set of dire outcomes and played it off like the infection was nothing while pushing to do whatever I could to get better fast before other bad outcomes happened.

A couple months later our dog died and my wife then gave an emergency early birth. His death caused an early term birth. If I had died a few months earlier then almost certainly my daughter would have been a miscarriage, then my wife likely would have committed suicide.

About a decade prior – around the time Obama was making Citigroup whole on their frauds while passing the costs onto the rest of society – a racist black guy sucker punched me and called me nigger. That chipped the root of one of my teeth. Slowly over the next decade part of my jaw rotted away from an infection that exploded into near death in the middle of my wife’s pregnancy. And my daughter nearly had no life.

Writing the above will have many people suggest it is I that am racist for suggesting the racist person who tried to kill me should have had a longer prison sentence for his other violent crimes, or maybe we should restructure the economy away from financial bubbles and offshoring.

I’m of the view that anyone who is convicted of multiple separate violent crimes should be permanently caged or put to sleep, because when you commit violent acts repeatedly you do not deserve to live as you are not only harming the person you sucker punch or such, but you could also end the life of their unborn child.

The sepsis happened while we were traveling. The initial hotel we were staying at was sold out on the final day so I just happened to stay in a hotel across the street from a hospital. A few hours before jumping on a 15 hour flight I went over to the hospital and they turned me away saying it was just a dental issue. Then my wife brought be back over, they looked at me, and were like … oh, you are about to die.

That infection came back no less than 3 times. I had to get multiple teeth ripped out. I’ve had multiple fixed bridges.

If you add up the health expenses, emotional issues (more for my wife than me – much harder to lose someone you love than it is to die), inability to work, having teeth being wired in place, what seems to be dozens of dental visits, getting teeth ripped out repeatedly, etc … my social safety net payment funding kids being born into broken homes with no dad not only nearly liquidated my family, but also cost millions extra.

I absolutely despise race baiters who promote arbitrary violence and the big crimebanks like Citigroup which plunder society.

Fuck those people.

I live on the other side of the world and thus do not get to vote on how 30%, 40%, or (if Biden uncaps FICA) 50%+ of my labor is spent.

Last year when I ACHed income tax payments I sent in over 1,000 times what the president did.

One of my friends told me they didn’t blame Trump they blamed the system, but I thought that was an absurd claim as a leader should not only comply with and improve rules, but they should also set an example.

The idea I should pay a thousand times more while having no vote or voice *AFTER* leaving on account of being nearly killed by a racist person who called me nigger, WHILE also being lectured about racism … is a bit much.

The reasons I liked Trump (before the $750 income tax payments and nutbag January 6th siege) were:

he was hated by the media, so they’d cover wrongdoings (even making some up)
until the COVID-19 crisis hit, he was broadening the economy (which is why he got higher minority votes than any republican presidential candidate in decades in spite of the COVID-19 lockdowns)
his administration pushed through an antitrust lawsuit against Google for their monopolistic bundling practices (which will at least restrain Google slightly, provided Biden is not a third Obama term)

The above being said, the January 6th siege was absolutely idiotic, and looked like it was something out of South Park.

Google’s Eric Schmidt played a vital role in the Obama elections & administration. Their relationship was so close it was called “The Android Administration.”

When the FTC investigated Google the Obama administration intervened to prevent justice. And now Schmidt’s shadowy “use AI everywhere in weaponry” startup is deeply embedded in the Biden administration.

We are back to an administration loved by the media. The controversy are hence reduced to casual magazine cover shoots.

Mainstream media: please serve your vital roll in society. Cover that casual photoshoot and not the Darth Vader aspects of Eric Schmidt.

Biden pushed against the “racist” attribution of the COVID-19 crisis to its source in China, though few have considered how “free trade” with a country with over a million slaves would impact living standards as it deindustrializes the country and destroys the middle class.

If a country has a live organ harvesting program for its own citizens, do we want to have close ties to it?

If a state-controlled economy dumps fentanyl into your country they deserve nothing but ire and disrespect, at least until that problem goes away.

While we are seeking out a just global society, does LeBron James say “technically the Chinese Uighur slaves who make my Nike shoes are not black, so it is all good! #BLM”

Free capital flows plus structural trade deficits from “free trade” with slave states = declining domestic living standards.

If you have an average to below average IQ, did not come from wealth, have high living costs, and you must compete against literal slaves your life is probably going to suck.

Declining living standards can be masked temporarily through manipulating economic data, but fake data can’t restore hopes and dreams and aspiration for something better.

When I was inside the Fed, it was acknowledged internally that the core PCE was a broken metric that understated & misrepresented true inflation. The decision was made to continue using the broken gauge because Fed models would not work if true inflation was used.

QE is a lie. https://t.co/E3LlQhTPyv— Danielle DiMartino Booth (@DiMartinoBooth) January 4, 2021

That loss of hope will fuel deaths of despair, desperation, and a desire to believe in just about anything.

The race baiting “equality of outcomes” promoters only throw further fuel on the fire by telling people they are victims and pointing their ire in the wrong direction.

Burning down the local nail salon in a riot is not going to change the Federal Reserve bailing out hedge funds who are manipulating the stock market.

Instead of acting like an enraged victim, read Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron and then consider what skills you can lean into to make a positive change in the world.

The process and outcome of that “free trade” & papering it over with increasing debt leverage was well known in advance.

Look no further than this 1994 Charlie Rose video interview of Sir James Goldsmith.

Ultra-wealthy plutocrats were willing to partner with the CCP and sacrifice the US middle class in order to gain more wealth and political power.

THE RIGHT PEOPLE won.

For some people the web was a life raft, but a lot of the easy wins have already been had.

And the central network operators are getting more aggressive with scratch-your-back censorship for those in political power.

As more and more services happen online, more and more of business profit margins are flowing online, and the online networks are having a massive impact on the portions of the economy which remain offline.

The central network operators can choose to ban an outgoing president while ignoring politicians who call for genocide in other markets to curry favor to political leaders.

As Zuck would say …

“You can be unethical and still be legal that’s the way I live my life”

Tim Berners-Lee will likely end up saving the web he created by promoting decentralization.

If that doesn’t work, we are stuck with Zuck and Eric Schmidt restructuring society as they see fit.

That would would be increasingly unjust, corrupt and violent. So I am *REALLY* rooting for Tim Berners-Lee to pull a second rabbit out of a hat.

Categories: internet

SEO community mourns Hamlet Batista, advocate for automation in SEO and beloved friend

Posted by on Jan 28, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on SEO community mourns Hamlet Batista, advocate for automation in SEO and beloved friend

SEO community mourns Hamlet Batista, advocate for automation in SEO and beloved friend

RankSense CEO Hamlet Batista, a mentor to many in the SEO community and someone fellow marketer Mike King called “the best of us,” died on Tuesday night, leaving those who knew him, admired him, learned from him and loved him, reeling from the loss.

Hamlet passed away after suffering from a case of COVID-19, Maura Loew, operations manager at RankSense, confirmed to Search Engine Land.

Hamlet’s contributions to our industry spanned numerous publications and conferences, including our own. His drive to share his knowledge has been widely recognized, and applauded, by his peers.

🙇Wow. I guess I can retire now… kidding!

Thank so much John! 🙏

I love showing what is possible to do with #Python 🐍🔥 https://t.co/VnG50bZoW8

— Hamlet Batista (@hamletbatista) June 24, 2020

“I’m a trained engineer, and we’re native problem solvers . . . Our calling is to fix stuff that we see is inefficient,” he said in a vlog with Barry Schwartz, providing us with a glimpse of what motivated him throughout his career. In the video, he also shares an anecdote about his son, and how the engineer’s mindset has been passed down to him as well.

From time to time, he would also share his personal achievements with the community. I distinctly recall when he earned his citizenship (which was exactly a year ago today), and his excitement about participating in our democratic process for the first time. As a child of immigrants, I was proud to witness these moments, and Hamlet’s service to the industry continues to set an example for all of us, but especially people of color such as myself.

🇺🇸 my first election as a new US Citizen 🙌🏼 #VoteEarly 🗳 pic.twitter.com/osKF6viAbN

— Hamlet Batista (@hamletbatista) October 25, 2020

“The [SEO] community was incredibly important to him, and we’ve seen the outpouring from the community which tells me that the feeling was mutual,” Loew said, adding, “He always saw himself as part of that community and formed a lot of friends that way.”

Hamlet advocated for automation and helped raise awareness for Python’s potential applications in SEO. “Even though he’s been working on that for seven or eight years, maybe more, it’s only been the past year or two that he has been able to focus time on threading that message, and so he told me two years ago that he was going to start a movement of automation in SEO and Python in SEO and he did,” Loew said, “I can’t give him all the credit, there’s been many people contributing but . . . RankSense as a company, our app is related to that, but that’s sort of part of his vision.”

His reputation in the community runs parallel with what he is known for as a leader. “Hamlet brings to SEO a thoughtfulness, an analytical nature and even a scientific approach, and that is what he has taught all of us, every person on his team, to follow in his example,” said Loew, adding that he also cared about all of his employees, both as people and professionally. “He was a wonderful leader and he will be truly missed,” she said.

Those who would like to help support Hamlet’s family during this difficult time can do so via the GoFundMe campaign organized by his close friend and fellow community member Lily Ray. All donations will go directly to Hamlet’s family.

To date, the coronavirus pandemic has claimed nearly 430,000 lives in the U.S. alone.

On behalf of the entire search community, thank you for everything, Hamlet. You’re already missed.

The post SEO community mourns Hamlet Batista, advocate for automation in SEO and beloved friend appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Yoast SEO 15.7: Helping you write better content

Posted by on Jan 28, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Yoast SEO 15.7: Helping you write better content

Today, we’d like to welcome Yoast SEO 15.7. For this release, we thought we’d remind you of some cool stuff Yoast SEO does to help you write awesome content. For Premium users, we’ve added a new language with full readability and word form support: Turkish!

Yoast SEO is your SEO expert and content editor

It’s easy to forget how useful a tool is when you use it daily. It somehow slips from your mind, and you simply accept the fact that something is silently helping you to improve your site. Well, not always that silently, as we do tend to remind you to fix stuff that has a red bullet — but, we’ll never yell. We use these nudges to encourage you to improve your work. We’re especially mindful when it comes to content SEO.

High-quality content needs to be topically on target, but it also needs to be readable and easy to understand. No one will read your content if it is sloppy, shallow, rambling or simply plain bad. But, not everyone is a gifted writer — or can hire one. We’ve made it our mission, therefore, to help everyone improve their content. Well, everyone with a WordPress site running Yoast SEO that is. We built several tools that can analyse a piece of text and suggest improvements to make that content more readable. We can’t write it for you, but we can steer you in the right direction.

One of those analysis is the readability analysis. This analysis is powered by an algorithm that checks how readable your article is based on insights from research and best practices. For instance, we check for the use of transition words to improve the flow of text. The plugin checks to see if your sentences aren’t too long. Or, you tend to use passive voice a lot instead of active voice.

We gather all these insights and present them as feedback in the sidebar — or meta box. Use these insights to your advantage! But, don’t go chasing the green bullets. It’s not a rule — it’s simply a tool.

Combined with the SEO analysis, the readability analysis helps you make your work the best possible content for readers and search engines alike.

The Yoast SEO Premium analysis turns it up a notch

While the free version of Yoast SEO works perfectly fine, we have additional features in Yoast SEO Premium that will improve your workflow. It will also genuinely improve your enjoyment. The Premium analysis is quite a bit smarter, and it makes for a much more natural writing and editing experience.

One of the most important features in Yoast SEO Premium is what we call word form support for your focus keyphrases. A word form is a grammatical form of your keywords. So, if your keyphrase is ‘baby’, ‘babies’ is a grammatical form of that word. With Yoast SEO Premium, we take those word forms into account. This means that we’re excellent at discovering not only the keyphrase as you have typed it, but also all word variations of that. What’s more, they don’t even have to be in the same order in a sentence. We’ll recognize them anyway.

Unlock this feature in Yoast SEO Premium

Get this feature and much more for your WordPress site with the Yoast SEO Premium plugin!

Get Yoast SEO Premium ▸Only $89 USD (ex VAT) for 1 site

What does that mean?

That’s all well and good, of course, but what does that mean for you, dear reader? Having a smarter analysis at your disposal, makes the process of writing a perfectly readable text much more natural. While you are writing, you naturally use various forms of your keyphrase. In the free version, we could only pick up the keyphrase exactly as you’ve entered it into the focus keyphrase box. With Premium, we take all the grammatical forms into account as well. This means you won’t have to awkwardly fit in keyphrases to satisfy the plugin, as to plugin is probably already satisfied by your natural writing.

Of course, this is not all. In Yoast SEO Premium, you’ll also get the chance to add related keyphrases and synonyms to expand the possibilities of the analysis even more. These tools help you write a piece of content that reads effortlessly, without overusing your focus keyphrase.

In Yoast SEO 15.7: Full Turkish language support

Most of the checks in Yoast SEO work independent of language, but some we finetune for specific languages. We have a long list of languages we support, and we can add a new one today: Turkish. Turkish is the sixteenth language to receive full language support with word forms. As of today, Turkish users can make use of all this cool stuff.

That’s Yoast SEO for you!

Today, we’ve launched Yoast SEO 15.7. Premium users from Turkey will enjoy the brand-new readability and word form support for their language. We have many more languages coming, so keep an eye out for yours!

The post Yoast SEO 15.7: Helping you write better content appeared first on Yoast.

Coming soon: Understanding structured data course!

Posted by on Jan 27, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Coming soon: Understanding structured data course!

Coming soon: Understanding structured data course!

There’s a new Yoast SEO academy course on its way: the Understanding structured data course! Are you ready to take a deep dive into the theory of structured data? After completing this course, you’ll understand the concepts and terms related to structured data in detail. And, implementing this knowledge could help you get wonderful rich results!

Why is structured data so important?

Yes, good question. Structured data is a way of describing your website to make it easier for search engines to understand. You can add structured data to your site by adding some code to your site (or by using a plugin that does this for you). It’s becoming more and more important to add structured data to your site because search engines can use it to display search results in a much richer way, with an image and reviews, for example.

An example of rich search results powered by structured data

If you want to be able to compete in the search results nowadays, you need structured data. This may sound daunting, especially if you’re not sure where to start, but we’re here to help!

A sequel to the Structured data for beginners course

The new Understanding structured data training course is a sequel to our previous – and free! – course on structured data: the Structured data for beginners course. Over 5000 users have already taken this course. If you haven’t started this course yet, we recommend you do!

If you have already completed this beginner’s course (well done!), our Understanding structured data training course will be the perfect next step to deepen your knowledge. Of course, this course is also great if you already gained some basic knowledge of structured data elsewhere.

What will you learn in the Understanding structured data course?

In this new course about understanding structured data, you’ll learn things like:

what metadata, schema, and structured data entail;that there are different types of structured data markup, but that JSON-LD is the standard (and why);where to place and find structured data in a site’s code;how to read the structured data markup JSON-LD;where to find types of schema that you can use to implement in your site.

In short: after this training course, structured data will no longer hold secrets for you! You’ll understand all the important concepts and terms, and you’ll be able to use this knowledge to improve your chances of getting those coveted rich results.

How can you get access?

As you may know, you now get access to all Premium courses by purchasing a Yoast SEO Premium subscription (for only $89 a year!). This subscription will give you access to the Yoast SEO Premium plugin and all our SEO courses.

So, to get access to the Understanding structured data course, all you need to have is a Yoast SEO Premium subscription. We’ll release the new course next week. Then, you’ll automatically be able to access it from your Yoast SEO academy courses overview! Of course, we’ll let you know when the course is live.

Don’t have Yoast SEO Premium yet? Get it now, so you’ll have access to the Understanding structured data course too!

Go Premium and get free access to our SEO courses!

Buy Yoast SEO Premium (or renew your subscription) and get FREE access to Yoast SEO academy Premium:

Get Yoast SEO Premium ▸Only $89 USD (ex VAT) for 1 site

The post Coming soon: Understanding structured data course! appeared first on Yoast.

How are local service ads impacting Google Ads accounts?

Posted by on Jan 26, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How are local service ads impacting Google Ads accounts?

How are local service ads impacting Google Ads accounts?

In September 2020, Google launched local services ads to lawyers.  Since my agency works with a lot of lawyers, we were very curious to see how these ads impacted where people click in the search results.  

At first, we assumed these ads were stealing clicks from the local pack results but were surprised to find that although it did lower the click-through-rate of the Google My Business listings, the average impact was only a loss of about 5 clicks a month.  However, when we looked at several Google Ads accounts for several lawyers, it told a very different story. 

In this example, after Local Services Ads launched, this lawyer saw their cost per conversion double and their number of conversions drop in half.

In this example, this lawyer saw his cost per conversion increase by 50% and his number of conversions dropped by 50%.

Seth Price, founder of BluShark Digital and managing partner of Price Benowitz LLP, saw something similar at his agency.  When looking at several Google Ads accounts for personal injury lawyers, they saw that when Local Services accounts had been introduced, it almost always resulted in a decline in the click-through-rate in the traditional Google Ads account.  Accounts that didn’t have Local Service Ads competing saw little change or increased click-through-rates.

When you observe the search results, it’s easy to see why these ads might “steal traffic” from traditional paid ads.  They appear higher than traditional ads and they also have a lot of rich features (reviews, photos etc) that make them appear more attractive.

However, it’s interesting to see that for lots of high-commercial-intent keywords, Google isn’t even showing traditional ads anymore.

Why we care. If you’re in a market or industry where Local Services Ads have not launched yet, I would strongly recommend keeping a very close eye on your Google Ads account when the ads finally do launch.  As Google continues to expand these, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these roll out to new industries in 2021.  If you see rapid declines in the performance of your Google Ads account, it would be a good idea to shift budget away from that account and towards Local Services Ads to ensure you’re not wasting money. 

The post How are local service ads impacting Google Ads accounts? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

How to Write Headlines People Can’t Help but Click [Formulas Inside]

Posted by on Jan 19, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Write Headlines People Can’t Help but Click [Formulas Inside]

How to Write Headlines People Can’t Help but Click [Formulas Inside]

There’s more than one reason sites like BuzzFeed, Upworthy, or PopSugar get so many clicks, views, and site visitors.

The top reason, though, is that all of these sites use unique, powerful, and engaging headlines that make people want to click on their content and view the whole story.

There isn’t one right way to write a headline, but certain types have been more successful over the years. By following certain headline “formulas,” you’ll write headlines that will persuade people to click on your content.

Here’s how to write powerful headlines that people can’t help but click.

Why Headlines Matter

The headlines you write either grab the attention of your audience or bore them. You need to get them right because your prospective customers will make their first impressions about your brand from them.

Your headlines shouldn’t focus on selling to the reader since that can be a turnoff. Instead, they should entice users to click to your content.

You also need to ensure your headlines are an accurate representation of the contents of the page. Users will quickly bounce from your page if the content doesn’t match the headline.

Finally, your headlines should adhere to your company’s values. Most Americans believe the headlines that they see. Fake headlines or headlines that are too “click-baity” can lead to giving your brand a bad wrap and will make your business suffer in the long term.

The good news is that if you stick to the formulas in this article, you can avoid using misleading, false, or boring headlines that can hurt your business.

4U Formula Headlines

The first formula you need to know about is the 4U formula.

According to CopyBlogger, as many as 80% of people will read the average headline when they come across it, but only 20% will actually read the entire post.

If you want to boost the odds of people actually clicking on your headlines and reading an entire post, you have to make your headline as intriguing as possible.

Melanie Duncan’s 4U formula is perfect for compelling readers. The 4U formula instructs you to make your headline “useful, urgent, unique, and ultra-specific.”

Useful Headlines

Think about the headlines that you actually click on when you’re scrolling through your news feed. Some are probably headlines that offer something that can help you.

You need to offer people the same useful value in your own headlines. Start out by understanding what will be useful to your audience, and then offer them what they need.

The headlines in this category should identify a problem and offer a solution, and so should the articles that go along with them. This works whether your company is service-based or product-based.

Examples of headlines that are useful include how-to articles and listicles like this one, from Wonder How To:

Other example “useful” headlines include:

10 Tricks for Getting Better SleepHow to Land Your Dream JobHow-To Guide for Meditation Beginners

Urgent Headlines

Clever bloggers create a sense of urgency in their headlines to push people to click. Think FOMO here (for the uninitiated: Fear Of Missing Out).

There is so much online content trying to grab our attention. It’s easy to ignore headlines that don’t aren’t time-sensitive.

However, when something IS urgent, readers will often click on the headline to get the information right away. They don’t want to miss out on exciting, helpful, or informative content that they need right now.

Urgency is the hardest of the four U’s to capture, and it might not always apply to your article’s topic. If you’re going to skip over any of the 4 Us, this is the one to think about leaving out.

Examples of urgent headlines include titles like “Avoid THIS Mistake Before It’s Too Late” or “Do XYZ in Just 2 Weeks With This One Simple Trick.”

Traditional news outlets use urgency in their headlines all of the time. Just check out this one from Fox News:

Unique Headlines

People love rare and unusual phrases. They stick out like a sore thumb and pique people’s interest so that they just have to click.

Anything that you can do to make your headline stand out in an oversaturated online world will help.

Think about focusing on wordplay, puns, and interesting topics. Buzzfeed is notorious for this:

Ultra-Specific Headlines

Have you ever wondered why so many headlines these days have numbers in them? It’s because they are ultra-specific.

Readers like to know exactly what they can expect if they click on a headline. The best headlines take specific ideas and break them down one step further.

For example, don’t just write about foods that you should avoid. Talk about common foods to avoid. Don’t just mention home decor ideas, talk about do-it-yourself home decor ideas.

Again, this is all about understanding what will be useful to your audience. Here’s an example of an ultra-specific headline I used in the past:

When you make sure that all of your headlines are useful, urgent, unique, or ultra-specific (or a combination of methods!), you’ll come up with better headlines for every article that you write–headlines that push people to read because they offer an answer to problems they have.

Guide Headlines

The guide formula is a classic way to show people that your post can solve their problems.

It’s as easy as rephrasing your headline to read: “The (Adjective) Guide to (Ultra-Specific Topic).”

Be careful about how you phrase the contents of the blanks, though. Use unusual words where you can and try to avoid basic adjectives like “complete.” Try to spice it up a bit by changing your adjective to something like “compact” instead.

Here’s a great example from TheStranger.com:

Showcase the Benefit of Your Post in the Headline

Your headlines need to demonstrate exactly what’s in it for readers if they view your post. The headline needs to convince them that there’s a benefit to taking time out of their day to look at your content.

You need to really know your target audience to create a headline with this formula. You should know what search terms they are using to find your post and what information they hope to find in it.

This is as simple as writing a few headlines like “Make Your Own Email Template in Minutes” or “Fast and Easy Ways to Cook Bacon.”

Huffington Post gave away the big benefit of their post quite well in this headline:

You can also give away the benefits of your post within a headline if you want to offer readers something in exchange for their time, like “Get a FREE E-book at The End of This Blog Post.”

Create Headlines that Appeal to Your Readers’ “How-To” Instinct

Most people are interested in improving their quality of life in one way or another, whether it’s their personal or business life.

With “how-to” headlines, you can highlight people’s wants and needs and how to meet them.

Don’t include the process in the headline, though, since you don’t want to give away the big secret. That certainly won’t compel readers to stick around for your whole post. Instead, keep your focus on the end result and the real motivations that the reader has.

These can be articles like: “How to Start a Business From Home” or “How to Eat Healthier on A Budget.”

Here’s an example of one of my how-to headlines:

Like all other headline formulas, the how-to headline offers a solution to a specific problem. Another example:

You can apply this formula by first figuring out what problems your readers might be struggling with.

Next, find out how you can narrow this problem down to make it extra-specific. If you need help, reach out to your followers on social media and ask them what challenges they face. You can even run an online poll or send one out to your email subscribers.

Headlines Comparing Two Unexpected Things

When you compare two unexpected things, people will be curious to figure out how they relate.

For example, this headline is pretty hard to ignore:

Claiming that bacon is better than true love is a pretty bold statement. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty interested to know the author’s reasoning here.

The formula for this headline is as simple as something like “Why (one thing) trumps/is better than (the second thing).” Comparison headlines offer us an escape from having to weigh out difficult decisions.

These usually work best if you bust a myth, like suggesting people should eat chocolate instead of going to the gym.

People won’t expect that you’re choosing to recommend the unexpected choice, and they’ll want to know your reasoning.

To apply this formula, begin by thinking about which myth you can bust or decipher some of your readers’ hardest decisions. Then use the formula to give them an answer.

For example, Bitcoin is super popular right now. That makes this Forbes post claiming that gold is better than Bitcoin intriguing, to say the least.

Classic, Numerical List Headlines

If you’re tired of seeing list posts all over the place, you might want to rethink your stance on them. People write them because they’re clickable and readable.

In fact, numerical headlines are the most preferred type of headline.

Buzzfeed’s homepage usually contains multiple listicle headlines:

Some other examples include:

32 Legitimate Ways to Make Money at Home (The Penny Hoarder)17 Ways Successful People Think Differently About Money (MindValley Blog)9 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler Without Using a Smartphone (The Art of Manliness)

A list post headline is as simple as “XX (Adjective) Ways to (Do Blank).” Start by thinking about the tips that can help your readers. Include specific, actionable tips that they can apply to their lives right away.

Include emotional words in the blog title to make list posts even more effective, like “sneaky” or “legitimate.”

Headlines that Appeal to Readers’ Curiosity

If you offer up insider information, readers won’t be able to resist. Their curiosity will get the best of them, and they’ll have to read your post to find the answers.

The headline “XX Little-Known Methods to Do (Blank)” focuses on the idea that if the methods in your post are little-known, readers will have an advantage over people who don’t know about them yet.

You can also pique readers’ curiosity with a headline like “XX Secrets of (Blank).” Everyone will want to know the secret. Who doesn’t want insider information?

MoneyVersed combined these two methods with this headline:

“What Everyone Ought to Know About (Blank)” is also a great way to challenge readers to find out exactly what they’re missing out on.

When put to use, this headline should look something like this:

Use Keywords in Your Headlines

If you use keywords throughout an article (which you should!), you should also include them in the headline.

Not only do keywords matter when it comes to search engines, but they also matter for providing context. Readers can tell what your article is about and what they can expect from reading it.

You can do this easily with a headline like “What Makes (Keyword) So Important in (Keyword).”

You’ll attract more clicks and readers, get more tweets, rank higher in SERPs, and gain more traffic from headlines that incorporate your keywords.

Bizarre Headlines

When it comes to articles and blog posts, do as the pros do: always make sure your headlines are click-worthy.

If you have to write about something bizarre like HuffPost did in this headline to gain attention, do it.

The key to writing irresistible headlines is to avoid obvious clickbait but ensure that the article still plays on readers’ emotions.

You need to deliver on the promise from the headline within the body of your writing.

It also helps to test your headlines. For every article you publish, try to test at least five headline variants.

Headline Formulas for Your Articles, Blog Posts, and Social Media Posts

Think that only written blog posts or articles need well-crafted headlines?

Wrong. Every piece of content you create needs a compelling, strong, effective headline to attract more viewers. That goes for videos, podcasts, emails, tweets, and more.

Ideal Headline Length

No matter the formula or formulas you choose for your headlines, you need to keep an eye on the length. You want headlines to be long enough to cover all of the information, but short enough that they aren’t too lengthy.

According to CXL, The highest-converting headlines have between 16 and 18 words. Try to keep your headlines within this range for the best results.

Headlines for Social Media

You can test your social media headlines for free with a tool like Buffer.

For every headline variant, you can see how many retweets, favorites, mentions, and clicks were earned. You can also see statistics on the potential for each headline.

Then, head over to Buffer’s analytics tab to check out which of your headlines were clicked on the most by your followers.

Headline Formulas for Email Subject Lines and Opt-In Pages

Email headlines are just as important as article headlines because you don’t want your emails to be sent to people’s’ trash folders to die.

If you don’t think your email subject lines through, you won’t see very good open rates. Your subject lines either compel people to click on your email and consume your content or ignore it.

Luckily, there are tools you can use to help you create compelling subject lines for your emails.

iSpionage is a tool you can use to create clickable, attention-grabbing headlines that are a step above the boring subject lines you’re probably used to seeing.

ContactMonkey is also great at crafting email subject lines that are interesting by using a play on words or including a pun. The brand also often includes emojis in their subject lines.

Email subject lines are important, but they can only go so far if you don’t have a robust list of subscribers. You can boost your opt-in pages to gain more subscribers with the same formulas you use to create your headlines.

People won’t be interested in subscribing to offers that fall flat. Aim for something like this eye-catching, opt-in worthy headline instead.

Not only are the visuals great, but the headline mentions free. As if that isn’t exciting enough, you’ll get 40% off of your first order if you sign up.

Shoot for the same kind of opt-in forms for more clicks and subscribers.

Conclusion

You might be wondering why so many sites are getting traffic to their content, but yours could be better. The answer may be in your headlines. These are the first thing that people see from your brand before deciding whether or not to click over to your copy.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all way to write a headline, there are some headline formulas that you can follow to create better-performing ones.

You should be able to find a formula that suits every piece of content you produce, across all of your channels.

Do you want help to create headlines that increase your clicks, volume, and ultimately revenue? Let’s connect.

What kinds of headlines have performed the best for you and your brand?

The post How to Write Headlines People Can’t Help but Click [Formulas Inside] appeared first on Neil Patel.

2021 Digital marketing predictions for small businesses

Posted by on Jan 18, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 2021 Digital marketing predictions for small businesses

30-second summary:

Through all of the turmoil, key marketing trends emerged that will impact the way small businesses operate in 2021.
From catalyzed digital transformation and conversational marketing to AI’s application and data privacy emphasis, these are some themes that will serve as pillars for marketing success.
Five predictions for how these trends will play out this year.

In 2020, small businesses were forced to be nimble to grow and survive. As a result, more small businesses accelerated their digital transformation efforts to quickly and effectively reach customers online.

Through all of the turmoil, key marketing trends emerged that will impact the way small businesses operate in 2021. Here are my predictions for how these trends will play out this year:

1. Small businesses put their foot on the gas to digitally transform

According to the Small and Medium Business Trend Report from Salesforce Research, one in three small business leaders said that the pandemic has accelerated their digitization initiatives, and more than half of growing small businesses said technology drives their customer interactions. Brick and mortar small businesses that once depended on a physical presence adapted to the times and pivoted to ecommerce. Even farming businesses that never established an online presence set up integrated payment systems and chat services to better serve customers.

This year, small businesses will continue their path to digitalization and invest in building and maintaining an online presence. There will be a greater emphasis on tracking the entire customer lifecycle journey online and using data to inform decision making. This will open up more opportunities for small businesses to compete with larger businesses that operate in the same markets.

2. Conversational marketing takes center stage

During the pandemic, internet traffic has skyrocketed and more consumers are engaging in conversations with brands online. While this presents an opportunity for marketers, it also has created a unique challenge. Now, more than ever before, marketers are experimenting with conversational marketing to deliver personalized experiences and collect rich customer insights. With the release of cross-app communication features from Facebook earlier this year, it is becoming even easier for brands to reach customers where they spend most of their time.

In 2021, small businesses and successful brands will invest in conversational marketing to build brand loyalty and boost sales. Personalization will become key and brands that don’t offer customized communications for customers will fall short. As marketers and small businesses invest in conversational marketing, the adoption of instant chat and messenger services as communication channels will increase.

3. Machine learning and AI becomes practical for small businesses 

In the past, artificial intelligence and machine learning have been viewed as valuable technologies, yet only recently have AI and ML-driven campaigns become mainstream practical tools. Marketing automation is now smart enough to adjust messaging based on intent signals, but it relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning to make this happen.

This year, artificial intelligence and machine learning will become more useful for small businesses, allowing them to quickly and effectively target and communicate with desired audiences online. Advances in AI-based chatbot services will take place and consumers will be able to engage in a rich two-way conversation, which will provide rich data and valuable insights for small businesses in 2021.

4. Data privacy pressures intensify – Small businesses should prepare

As big tech continues to draw more government scrutiny around how user data is pulled and managed, the demand for privacy protection and transparency from consumers continues to heighten. According to RSA, nearly half of Americans have had their personal information compromised by a data breach within the past year and according to a study by Cisco, 84% of consumers want more control over how their personal information is managed.

Digital marketing is no exception to this and as small businesses continue to fully digitize, they will be faced with the same level of scrutiny on how they manage consumer data. While sourcing data is an essential component of successful marketing, in 2021, small businesses will need to invest in implementing data privacy compliant processes and communicating those transparently to customers.  This becomes an even greater challenge as these small companies fight to survive in the current economy.

5. The market demand increases for all-in-one digital marketing platforms

The demand for all-in-one digital marketing platforms has increased significantly within the past year as more small businesses are engaging with their customers online to drive sales. This has led to widespread innovation across multiple industries including food and beverage, fitness, farming, retail, and more. Larger companies are also turning to these platforms to efficiently manage all of their marketing needs in one place.

As the demand for these platforms continues, more businesses that offer complementary solutions will become partners with companies that offer these solutions to address the market demand. Integrations for payment, sales, helpdesk, and contact management services will become even more powerful and easy to use. Other integrations will also be established to help small businesses streamline their digital marketing operations. As more businesses invest in providing helpful solutions for these platforms, a thriving ecosystem will be established where the services offered for small businesses continue to increase in value.

Looking ahead

To succeed in 2021, it will be vital for small businesses to focus on creating seamless customer experiences online. The small businesses that excel in this area and harness the power of creativity will become stronger than ever before.

Steffen Schebesta is CEO at Sendinblue.

The post 2021 Digital marketing predictions for small businesses appeared first on Search Engine Watch.