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Archive for the ‘Search/SEO’ Category


The 4 Indispensable Pillars of Effective Digital Marketing [Free eBook Too]

Pillars of effective digital marketing

We’re going to talk about post website depression (PWD).

If you’re a sufferer, I urge you not to be embarrassed. You’re hardly alone.

Generally, PWD is preceded with wild mood swings. For months you’re knee-deep in the grind. Meetings and conference calls. Site maps and wireframes. Copy and code. Layouts and links. Flurries of emails. Portals. Staging sites. Browser testing. Blood, sweat and title tags.

Then finally…

After an exhausting Friday of tedious troubleshooting you’ve blasted past every last imperfection (you think). The flip gets switched over the weekend and you’re live. The new site looks tight. It loads in a flash. Isn’t the web wonderful?

High fives are flying all around the office Monday morning. The boss even sprung for donuts. But in the coming days, the buzz wanes. A week or two later, the source of your depression becomes clear: a million perfectly composed pixels can amount to zero effect on the business.

4 Pillars - eBook



This is a 4,000-word post. If you’d rather “Pocket” it or download it to read at another time, click here or the image on the left to get a free eBook version.


It’s time to call a content marketer

That’s me. And this is a call I’m a part of a lot.

I’m happy to have this call because I can answer most of the questions and steer the ship forward from here. But I must admit, this call tends to include two waffles I could live without.

Waffle 1: Uncertainty

I told you the impetus behind this consultation: PWD. The company’s learned a new website in and of itself is no rainmaker. Now, at least to some extent, the marketer/owner/person I’m talking to realizes her or his company needs more than a shinier home on the web; they need a more significant digital footprint.

They need to publish content—onsite and off (but first, on) so they get discovered more. Known more. Liked more. Trusted more. This is how digital marketing works.

But then, ugh, the question, the inevitable question, dare I say, the “you’ve got to be kidding me” question…

“Barry, in our business we’re not so sure potential new clients go online to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah (read, research, make decisions, buy, etc.).

Here’s what I think at that moment: Are you serious? Where do you think they go? Where do they get their books? Where do they do research for their personal needs? Where did you find me? And WHY are we talking?

Here’s what I say at that moment: Yes, they do. (And the client knows it.)

And one more thing: In digital marketing it’s dangerous to forge a strategy based on what you think or your opinion. You need to know how your prospects and customers behave.

Waffle 2: Commitment

Somehow we get past the ridiculousness. It’s understood: content must be produced. We proceed to the double-headed time and money monster. This part of the conversation could go a number of ways and at this point it’s a bit premature to do a content marketing plan, but to do my part I say what needs to be said:

Yes, it’s going to take time and money. And if you’re not committed to it long term, you’ll be wasting both.

So what’s it to take to make digital marketing work?

The most successful businesses are becoming customer-centric marketing machines. They’re able to:

  • Define marketing strategy based on customer needs
  • Understand the customers’ behaviors
  • Engage with customers based on their behaviors

Research indicates buyers are commonly two-thirds (or more) of the way through their journey before they reach out to the vendor. Marketing’s role has become enormously different.

  • Marketing is sales. Marketing—not sales—guides buyers through the early stages of the buying process.
  • Touch points multiply. Marketers need to engage customers across an expanding array of channels.
  • Timeliness is crucial. Relevant marketing messages and content must be delivered fast and at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Good news: your company can shift into digital gear to become more in touch with your customers’ needs, more responsive in delivering the content they seek when it matters most, and more effective and efficient.

Though there are countless strategies that may come into play there are four pillars of effective digital marketing your company needs to master:

1. Content marketing
2. Search engine optimization
3. Social media marketing
4. Marketing analytics

None of the above is optional. Think of them as four legs of a stool or table that forms the foundation of your digital marketing. Try to get by without one and your foundation falls down.

I’m now going to dive into each of the four to help you begin to get a basic understanding of the pillars of effective digital marketing. (more…)


Digital Marketing Basics: Simplified and Comprehensive

Digital marketing basics

Marketing works differently now.

Push is out. Pull is in.

You have to think inbound.

Traditional “outbound” marketing tactics that dominated the pre-Google world are now alarmingly ineffective. We all have the power to filter out advertising and we’re not afraid to use it.

The customer is in control. The communications process begins if and when the customer wants. Without advertising. Without phone calls. Without you.

Instead of pushing out messages via paid media, to reach this customer, you must put the power of content marketing, search, and social media to work. The relationship with your brand begins there.

SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads
(such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate.
~ Search Engine Journal

To be an effective marketer, you have to do a complete 180. The strategy is to pull people to your website with magnetic content.

Additional resource: introduction to inbound marketing.

Define objectives by beginning with the end in mind

“Our digital marketing isn’t working.” 

The great thing about digital marketing is how easy it is to measure results. So if you say the program isn’t working, it’s only a valid assessment if you’ve defined what “working” actually means.

Your sales and marketing team must agree on the program’s objective. Objectives differ from company to company, site to site, and program to program. Generally speaking, the mission is to generate traffic, leads and sales.

Are you aiming to expand an email database? Sell off the page? Foster word of mouth?

You’re going to experience failure and success. Digital marketing is forever experimental. You know what you need to conduct a meaningful experiment, right?

You need an outcome.

Additional resource: fast-track approach to setting objectives and planning.



How to Take Advantage of the Web’s Two Most Important Words

Two most important words

Two words: how to. Simple. Effective. Foolproof. Timeless.

“How to” are the two most important words on the web. Experienced writers know it. Now you do too.

Should every headline begin with “how to?”

No. That’d be boring as the Celine Dion catalog.

Should every business blog include how-to articles?

Yes. Some blogs use the technique in practically every post. Again, snoozeville. Some bloggers purposely avoid the “how to” headline. They find it too cliché. Big mistake. Here’s the thing about clichés: people get ‘em.

You can make every post title include “how to” or never type the two words your entire publishing career. Doesn’t matter.

What does matter is your blog posts, web pages, infographics, podcasts, videos, SlideShares, and every friggen helping of content you serve should serve your audience. The sooner you start applying this principle, the sooner you’ll have an audience.



Why is SEO Important?

Why is SEO Important

SEO is the digital God.

I mean no offense. I just mean to recognize the almighty power of the Internet. When us mortals need spiritual answers, many seek a higher power. And for grappling with many of the challenges of our daily lives, we put our faith in search engines.

The search engine doesn’t come to us. Many forms of marketing do. Or at least they try to. They interrupt us. We generally make them go away. Or we go away. Or we simply ignore them.

Search is kind and sensitive. We summon it in our time of need. When we:

  • Want to learn
  • Want to buy
  • Want to be entertained

Search won’t let you down.



The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding AdWords PPC

Understanding AdWords PPC

How do you get on the first page of Google fast?

You run Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) ads.

If you don’t have the luxury of writing for one of the web’s most established websites, search engine optimization (SEO) is the hard way. Gaining visibility and generating leads requires creating stellar content and a ton of persistence. It’s not magic. And there are no shortcuts.

Pay-per-click is a different story. Patience is not required. You can enjoy results immediately.

You won’t succeed with zero understanding of the AdWords PPC advertising platform, however this article will give you enough knowledge to get started and put you on the path to success.

PPC is a money game

With pay-per-click, you get your web page displayed on the search engine results page (SERP) when someone searches for the keywords you’ve selected. As the name suggest, you pay only when your ads are clicked. Fees are based on a cost-per-click. (more…)


100 Ways Your Company Loses to Better Online Marketers

It's a jungle online

It’s a jungle out there.

Online marketing has become a wild animal. But you don’t have to be a gorilla to dominate. Nor do you have to go ape and do absolutely everything. However, you do indeed need to understand what’s working for the leaders of the pack.

I thought I’d survey the landscape and give you my take on how the most cunning companies are killing it with online marketing tactics. So here you are: 100 ways companies are thriving on the wild, wild web.



Digital Marketing Lead Generation Strategies [Free eBook]

Free ebook Three Deep Marketing

I wrote a 40-page eBook covering today’s most effective digital marketing lead generation strategies. It was recently published by Three Deep Marketing, a sizable agency in Minnesota that’s one of the nation’s premier practitioners of data-driven digital marketing. From content marketing to marketing automation and many other tactics, the eBook covers a lot of ground. You can scroll down to see the chapters list. Go here to download the eBook in its entirety. Or check out how the book begins here and now….

The story begins with the predictably unpredictable buyer

The customer’s buying path is forever unpredictable. The only thing that is predictable is they will do their research.

You’re doing research here and now. You might pull the trigger soon. You might not.

buyer journeyIn a way, you’re a lot like everyone else. The decision you’ll make—in this case, about your company’s marketing—will be an informed one. You’ll put in the time, do your homework and make an informed decision.

And in a way, you’re unlike anyone. You’ll bounce around from source to source however you please. No one knows the path you’ll take—including you.

Let’s lay it on the line. Buyers command the buying process now. They absorb information like sponges, but don’t stand in line to get it. They go online and get it entirely on their terms.

If you want them to consider buying from you, you have to buy into the realities of the new media landscape. You have to map your marketing to their journey. And again, the journey’s wildly unpredictable.

Go ahead and gulp. In the 2010s decade, marketing and media have matured. Keeping up with the changes is a priority, but a highly challenging ambition. Deny the dominance of digital marketing and you’ll go down in defeat. Digitally savvy companies shall inherit the earth.

This eBook is a roadmap of sorts. Our hope is it will equip you with the insights you’ll need to achieve success in the age of the carefully considered decision.



SEO Bullshit (And How to Avoid Stepping In It)

SEO Bullshit

I’m NOT calling SEO bullshit.

I’m not saying you don’t need to understand SEO. You do. And when you do, search will become a leading ingredient in your marketing mix and possibly the largest source of traffic to your website. (Psst… I simplified it for you here.)

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do SEO. If you’re doing content marketing, it comes with the turf. If you persist in knowing little or nothing about SEO, you’re sabotaging your success.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t hire SEO professionals. If you can’t parcel time to do the necessary research, link seeking and ongoing analysis, you should enlist the help of experts. It’s too important to ignore.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re still wondering…

Why the harsh title for this post?

I gave this post the title “SEO Bullshit” because we’re all up to our earballs in misinformation about the topic. It’s everywhere. (more…)


How to Find Keywords People Use (But Your Competitors Don’t)

Keywords People Use

Winning at SEO calls for outmaneuvering the field.

Let’s examine how to find keywords your competitors aren’t using—with tactics they don’t even know about. 

“Keywords don’t matter much anymore.” You find it written everywhere lately.

I asked a friend who eats analytics for breakfast and snacks on SEO all day long, “Whatcha’ think about that man?” He smirked. Then he turned toward his massive monitor, typed “g-o-o-g-l-e-(.)-c-o-m” on his keyboard. The ubiquitous page with the crude, but familiar multi-color logo and single blank field popped right up.

He turned back to me and said, “What do I do now Barry?” His point was pretty clear. However all-powerful the search engine that changed the world may be, it can’t yet read your mind. Whether you choose to type or talk, you tell it what you’re looking for with a string of words.

Notice I wrote, “string of words.” I meant to suggest three, four, or more, words. These searches have come to be known as “long tail” and represent the majority of searches. It’s also important to note long tail keywords, being more specific than one or two word searches (or “head” keywords), have proven to deliver superior conversion.

To illustrate, consider “acoustic guitar” vs. “Used Taylor 12-string acoustic-electric guitar.” It seems intuitive the longer, far more specific term suggests the searcher has a better idea of the product he seeks and is therefore closer to reaching for his wallet. Research consistently provides confirmation.

Perhaps an even more important reason long tail keyword enters the SEO discussion so often is because as an online marketer you have a remarkably higher chance of earning page one search results by developing content targeting the lengthier phrases. The “big fish in a small pond” metaphor applies.

By strategically implementing long tail keywords, you’re far more likely to rank high, attract the audience you desire, and show motivated prospects the way to your website.

Your challenge is to identify the right long tail keywords

How do you do this? (more…)


How to Get Your Blog Post on the First Page of Google – Featuring an Interview with Andy Crestodina

the first page of google, Crestodina

The “SEO is dead” parade marches on. Even some search professionals are now writing obits for their old friend.

But search continues to thrive. It continues to drive traffic more than, well, anything. So what gives? For any given search, ten web pages are going to command page one rankings and earn waaaaaay more clicks than the gazillions of pages that follow.

If you’re a content marketer, you’d love to see your next blog post on the first page of Google. How important is it to understand SEO? It’s crucial.

I’ll be straight with you. If you want to play last decade’s lightweight Google games, you’ve come to the wrong place. A pro like Andy Crestodina won’t indulge you.

However, if you want to talk about creating immensely useful content while executing a strategy to rank atop Google SERPs (search engine results pages), you’d want to listen to Andy, if you could. And you can.

Right now. Right here. I present my friend, the content chemist himself, with a full set of answers on how he gets his blog posts on the first page of Google and how you can do the same.

Listen to Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media explain:

•  How he puts in the effort—in advance—to create blog posts with a very high chance of landing on the first page of Google.

•  Why it’s always more important to appeal to readers than searchbots.

•  His formula: traffic x conversions = success.

•  The three questions that must be asked and answered:

  1. Is anyone searching for this phrase?
  2. Do I have a chance of ranking for the keywords?
  3. Can I make the best page on the internet for the chosen topic?

•  The number one factor for ranking in Google.

•  What to do after you publish.

•  A better name for “SEO.”

•  A more effective approach than keyword density.

•  The case of the ambidextrous armadillo.