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Posted by iamlost on 27 July 2016 - 03:56 PM
Which brings me to the reason for this post: Moz's Peter Meyers Ranking #0: SEO for Answers, 26-July-2016, discusses his current research into Google's Featured Snippets: how to get your stuff cherry picked and the possible benefits.
After you read his article give Microcontent discovered - again, Cre8, 2008, a read keeping in mind what Dr. Meyers was saying.
Yup, a decade and more ago I was formatting content in a deliberate attempt to satisfy both skimmers and readers plus the search algos of the time. Turns out that it holds up well.
Yup yup the more things change the more they stay the same. If one builds for people they probably won't come without marketing but they will come back, apparently the same holds for googlebot.
There is no great secret to on page SEO. Just as there is no great secret to accessibility, usability, user experience, etc. Much, perhaps most, certainly in outline, have been discussed here at Cre8 since the beginning. If you as a webdev have been getting the fundamentals right, i.e. learning from Cre8 conversations for the past 15+ years you have not only had the benefit of great customer results but at no extra charge or effort great SE results as the engines catch up to what visitors desire.
Might as well enjoy the benefits of their using your 'step beyond the simple facts' for as long as they are willing to share credit.
Posted by Black_Knight on 01 March 2016 - 12:20 PM
It's so frustrating when you're being paid to do a thing you know how to do, and the customer just gets in the way. Like, you're screwing yourself here! Why pay a professional and then circumvent everything they're trying to do?
This is a sign that they think you are trying to sell them more than they need. It is a trust issue. It also cuts both ways, because it shows how their mind works, and how they think they would behave in your position.
Most small business ventures and new startups fail. And by 'most' I don't mean a narrow majority. 95% of new business ventures fail within the first few years and never made back even their costs and investment. So you can understand why a small business will be somewhat paranoid. They are not really paranoid if the entire world *is* against them, right?
So start off by realising that these potential clients and customers are doing something recklessly brave (or just reckless) in starting up their own business at all. You need to know your market. Of course they will make bold, even foolhardy decisions ... deciding to start your own business is one of the most bold and foolhardy decisions anyone can make. Your job is to be on their side.
Your job is to be on their side. Repeat this to yourself as a mantra when they are being difficult to work with. They call the tune, and your job is to riff and harmonise with them. If there is resistance, find another way. Go around, or even take an entirely different path. It's their money, and their business on the line, so it is only right that they get to decide to take risks and which ones. There's a very important difference between hiring someone to help you, from hiring someone to manage you. Be crystal clear up front about which you are. UNless they bought into the whole "Dictate to me like I'm your kid" package, then be the help they paid for.
I say all of the above as an ever-important mindset anchor.
Unless you sell yourself and your services by taking a share in the business, and take a share of the costs, then don't get too attached to the results. You have no more control over what advice they take, how they take it, and what they choose to do against your wishes than you have over what Google places No.1 in search for a highly competitive term. Over time you can certainly influence and hope, but you don't control. So, likewise, focus on doing work you are proud of, rather than necessarily getting a specific result. There are some companies that ruined everything I did where I'm still very happy and proud of my own work, of what I actually did. I know I gave good advice, and made my case as best I could, even where it was not enough to change a bad decision they made. Get to that place.
Most of the time, if they ignore your advice it is because you either misunderstood what they wanted to do (and how much they were already set on it), or because you failed to make your case well enough. Accept that, learn what you can about making a better argument next time, and move on to dealing with what is, instead of what might have, could have or 'should' have happened in your opinion. Always focus on how to do the best you can from where you are right now with a client, even if where you are is a worse position than you'd advised, or even a worse position than where you started at.
Posted by DonnaFontenot on 09 September 2014 - 06:49 PM
I feel like I've just given birth - to a WordPress plugin!
It was nerve-wracking to go through all the steps (and there are a number of rules and steps to adhere to), to bring my first WordPress plugin to fruition and into the WordPress repository.
It's not a plugin that many will need, most likely. But whether 10 people need it or 10,000, it's a living, breathing plugin available for free to everyone.
To most, it's not that big of a deal, but to me, it's both an accomplishment and a learning experience. Yay!
So what is it? Nothing too fancy, but something I couldn't find already out there. Here ya go.
Display the current page or post's metadata (title, author, publication date, categories, tags) in a sidebar widget, outside of "the loop".
Posted by cre8pc on 01 May 2014 - 11:25 AM
Before adding a slider, what do you want visitors to do when they land on the homepage? Every study done on sliders has shown that they are ignored and interfere with conversions because:
You have 5 seconds to communicate that you have what your visitor needs and why they should choose your company.
Your call to action should be above the page fold, and sliders push them down.
Animation is distracting. Moving images are distracting.
Sliders provide "maybe" a 1% conversion rate.
People don't read web pages - they scan.
I instruct all clients to use a "hero" image instead. This is a static image, and can be large but allow room to the left or right side of it for text content focused on answering top questions about your product/service/value prop.
If a slider is beloved, I instruct clients to put content on it with a value proposition on each slide, and place a big call to action button on the image that clicks to a page in a sales funnel. Do not put the slider on automatic scroll. Make it manual and show arrows, etc. for controls to let users stop, look, read, and click at their own speed.
TEST on mobile devices. Sliders are terrible on small screens.
Posted by socialwebcafe on 13 April 2014 - 02:54 AM
First, thank you for your patience in my extremely delayed response. I am definitely a work in progress on that.
Thank you for your response.. got me thinking
Your list of alternate names is great! I forget sometimes that there are phrases like "Explainer Videos." I keep calling them whiteboard videos and then I get lazy and call it whiteboarding which sounds more like something one would do at the beach. Great to have the list, so thanks for putting that out there for us, Donna.
Yes, I'm like you. I like to add something that has zing. I like to do it more than I do it, but that is more of a time limitation. That is where tools like slideshare or even embedding an instagram or pin are helpful, just to get something, even a fizzled zing in there. (Yes, and I say that I am writing a post that is zingless. lol.)
So, for your question, yes, Sparkol is something that you can do yourself. Though, I didn't find that it was instantly intuitive. It isn't like I signed up and all of a sudden was producing masterpieces. There is definitely a learning curve. But, I think, as with all things, once you get the hang of it, you can spit out videos quicker. Sparkol does have some how-to videos and my recommendation is to watch those and watch them a couple times to really get the hang of it. Then, give yourself some slack and allow yourself to mess some up
BTW - I agree, I do feel like watching whiteboards that are well done help to drive the info home for me.
The whiteboard, above, is not all Sparkol. I made a whiteboard via Sparkol and then brought it into Final Cut Pro and enhanced it. That certainly isn't a requirement and is more of a case where I am so comfortable using Final Cut Pro that it was like breathing to just add a few things like flares, music, transitions, etc. However, Sparkol does offer these things so that you do not need any other programs. There is the availability for music and different options for your transitions, too.
Here are some tips, off the top of my head, for whiteboard videos, no matter what tool you use to make them:
- Keep them relatively short, or modular (like under 3 min) ... unless it is meant to be a full length teaching session or something.
- Keep a variety. For example, use the hand to write out part, and then slide in the next part.
- Keep it moving. If it is too slow, people will stop watching it and leave.
- Use the spacers (watch the instruction videos for how-to), to create a pause after the text is added. This gives viewer time to read it.
- If you are inserting an image, lower the timing from the default 30 seconds to 7 seconds. What will happen is the drawing will start slow and then all of a sudden instantly finish. That is ok. The viewer will be intrigued by the first part, but you won't lose them by it taking 30 seconds for the full picture.
Some of the tips above hit on some things that have worked really well for us in the video business. The process of illusion. Just because you *can* let every image be hand-drawn for 30 seconds each doesn't mean you should. Do you want to watch a video move at a non-engaging snail speed? No, if it bores you it is going to bore your viewers too, so keep that thing hopping. Adding music, change of color, change of image, anything to keep it going. You can give the illusion that the viewer is watching the entire cat being drawn without actually waiting for the entire cat to be drawn. As long as the full kitty is shown at the end of that piece, you have successfully provided an engaging moment with the illusion of the full drawing process.
Til next time,
Posted by evolvor on 21 January 2014 - 09:26 PM
The first thing that pops in my head here is not to think about this as "how can these fit into one website" but more like "can these fit under a brand". I think they all could probably fall into a brand, with even more doors opening based on how that is developed.
If you went to a newsstand you'd find all sorts of magazine brands (think "lifestyle" magazines) that could sell any of those products (but perhaps with specific angles - "Better Homes & Gardens" has a certain demographic, "Style" another, etc.) Perhaps thinking about a brand and building that, then incorporating all the products under it would make sense. If done well the sky is the limit for what else could be sold under the brand.
If there is a shared demographic among those who visit these sites or purchase these products, then you have an opportunity
Posted by ShawnaSeigel on 16 January 2014 - 01:34 PM
In 2011 I started an amazing experiment to create $60,000 in sales within 6 months by opening an online quilting store.
It had to be done using ONLY social media and of course organic SEO.
I was SO close!! After 6 months we generated $55,618.77 in sales. It took us 6 and a half
We shared our progress throughout and sold the store shortly after the 6 months were up.
So how did we get people to our new website?
We blogged, we facebooked, we twittered, we flickered, and we pinned.
We emotionally connected with our customers. We let them into our lives and they let us into theirs.
It was absolutely wonderful.
Beginner's Guide to Social Media
Most people I talk with are scared to jump into the social media pool. They don't know how or even where to start.
Guess what? You are not allowed to use that excuse any more
Today Moz released the Brand New Beginner's Guide to Social Media:
This guide has something for everyone to learn and education is powerful if it is applied!
Let's work together to improve your social media skills. If you are going to work through the guide, let us know below!
We will check-in with your progress and make sure you are applying your new found skills.
Remember, team work makes the dream work!
Coming Soon - $60,000 in 6 months? Part 2.
Social Media helped us to get the traffic, but what did we do to get the sales?
Posted by DonnaFontenot on 23 October 2013 - 12:39 PM
At Pubcon today, Matt Cutts was the keynote speaker, and the session was live-streamed at ustream.tv/channel/pubcon
I wish the session had been recorded for later viewing, because there were two very brief parts that I'd love to pull out and share. But alas, we'll have to rely on my paraphrasing because I can't recall the exact words he used. As far as I could tell, no one even noticed those few words that came out of Matt's mouth, but in my opinion, they were the most significant words in the entire hour. You can see a text recap at http://searchenginel...t-pubcon-174906 but it too failed to mention this part.
While Matt was discussing the "moonshot" changes that are taking place, such as the Knowledge Graph, Voice Search, Conversational Search, etc. he said something to this effect (totally paraphrased by me, so don't quote me verbatim):
All along, Google has attempted to organize the world's information, and nothing in that statement mentions the phrase "search engine". Users want answers, and that's what we're attempting to give them.
Later, in the Q&A portion at the very end of the session, Matt again referred to this when discussing how Google seems to be using up all the space in the SERPs with ads, toolbars, etc, so there's little room left for organic results. Another paraphrase:
Users want quick answers, and don't necessarily want to be sent off to a site to answer it. Your job is to provide content of real value that does more than just give a 3-word answer to a question so that users will want to visit your site.
I quickly tweeted about that, saying,
Butt matt, if you give the answers, the users will never see our value.
HA! Just noticed my tweet's typo there. Bahahaha! Anyway...I digress...
My point, of course, is that as Google gives more and more "answers" in the SERPs, there's little to no incentive for users to ever leave Google, or ever have the chance to see the valuable content we have.
People say, well, it's Google's site, so they can do what they want.
That's not always the case, however.
The "answers" that Google gives is not their content. It is OUR content.
We've always had an implied "contract" with Google.
We'll let you crawl our sites, Google, if you'll send traffic back to us.
The "contract" isn't this: We'll let you steal and use our sites' content, Google, without anything in return (traffic).
Google - via Matt's brief, nearly unnoticed words today, is letting us know...we are going to keep stealing your content, because we love our users, and we don't care what you think about that.
Posted by WPMuse on 17 October 2013 - 09:30 AM
No wonder people are despondent, dejected, and depressed.
I know of sites totally and completely playing by "the rules" and they were put out of business by g#####'s latest attempts to stop spam. Very cool sites, all the boxes checked.
I am now of the opinion that spam to g##### is anyone who they can squeeze ad dollars from.
We now live in a day where playing by the rules doesn't pay and the only one really listening to the market place is the NSA.
The only way to approach all this is pretty elegant in it's simplicity:
Create the best site for your market, and concentrate on providing the best product/service possible -- then nurture the customers and relationships that come your way to build partnerships for the long haul.
That's all you can control -- so be the best at it that you can!
Posted by Grumpus on 22 August 2017 - 06:50 AM
SEO seems to be confused. Then again, they've always seemed pretty confused to me.
The big thing I'm seeing nowadays is possibly the worst thing I've seen in the industry. The repercussions of it all have barely begun to be felt. SEO strategies aren't "optimizing a site" at all. Go to any SEO/SEM company site and they are all going to "Optimize X number of landing pages" and promise traffic and whatever else. The problem with this is that 80% of your work goes to waste. I've been doing some work with a company that does the "optimize X pages" strategy. They do great for the chosen keywords and drive lots of traffic, but ultimately... conversion rates are dismal and none of the other pages on their site rank for anything, and the "optimized" pages only rank for the keywords they are optimizing for.
Today's SEO (done properly) is optimizing for ideas and concepts. It's about consistency and structure. It's about organization and clear paths. It's about structure - both in on-page consistency and structured data markup and off page structure that provides context for everything on the site.
"We don't have the budget to organize and optimize the entire site, so we do a specific set of pages because it's manageable." This is what these companies tell me time and time again. And my response is, "If you keep doing it this way, you'll never have the budget to organize and optimize the entire site."
I don't know where they are coming from. Their backgrounds seem to be in marketing and NOT in information systems. What do they need to know? For me it's more about what they need to unknow before they can begin to know things.
NOTE: This is coming from the context of SEO/SEM for small businesses. I think most of the big companies with big web sites have people who understand all of this. The trick there is that usually means "a team of people". It's difficult, if not impossible, for one person or even a small handful of people to both understand what needs to be done, and then be able to properly execute all of it in balance and in the proper proportions.
Posted by tam on 06 June 2016 - 12:39 PM
I disagree. I don't think gender has anything to do with it. In fact sometimes it's disparaging to say it does. Why credit the campaigns success to the fact the audience and creative director share a gender rather than just the creative director was particularly skilled at their job.
Women and men aren't a giant homogeneous groups. Belonging to one doesn't give you a magic insight because people are much to diverse - that's why marketing involves research. Even if being a woman gave you a secret insight to all women, if you can only create successful campaigns for people that are exactly like you then you are a pretty limited creative director.
Posted by iamlost on 22 November 2015 - 02:11 PM
I detest the overwhelming emphasis that is search.
So please do not take the following as applying only to SEs or SEO; link building is NOT, has NEVER been that limited, only SEOs and many/most webdevs wear such self inflicted artificial blinders.
The following is a cross post from a thread, The Foundation of a Link Building Project: Things a Business Must Know Before Starting, at WebmasterWorld. I liked my post so much I am 'content marketing' it:
I agree with just about everyone above, at least somewhat.
Disclaimer: yes, I have bought links, but not for years; yes, I have asked for links, but not for years; in both instances they were specific links for specific purposes.
You should have:
1. a really really good website.
Such that when compared with it's main competitors it pops. If it looks like everyone else's simply having better copy, even images/vids won't be enough for most visitors: it looks the same, it is the same. And also have the better/best copy/images/vids et al.
Note: why does Apple strive for the best packaging in the computer (just about any) industry, mmm?
2. link quality (authority, relevance, trust (ART))
As we have no knowledge how a SE applies or flows link values we can only use our personal judgement, asking:
1. do I believe the page/site has ART in my (or associated) niche?
2. do I believe that a link from there has the potential to inform their visitors that I too have ART?
3. do I believe that traffic through a link there is pre-qualifying the traffic it refers?
4. do I believe that a link there will refer n-traffic?
Note: how many of you consider back links as affiliate links?
I definitely prefer links that send traffic.
Note: as Google search traffic is just about the worst converting traffic on the web it is just not the diversification principle that drives my efforts for other referrers. However, as Shepard mentioned, if you build for traffic you get Google (and other SEs) at no additional effort/cost.
As robzilla mentions, albeit primarily as SE/Google bait, there are worthy links that don't necessarily send traffic. Many serious niche academics and thought leaders' sites send no to little traffic for the simple reason that their writings, while foundational, are not easy and so not popular.
However, I love to get their links for testimonial reasons and highlight them as such. And of course, I link back to specific works as appropriate citations/quotes. And where feasible I publish interviews, which offer all sorts of crosslinking possibilities.
Note: how many of you consider back links as testimonials?
3. Marketing includes link building includes site architecture
I agree wholeheartedly with buckworks:
I consider just about all my promotions to be part of my link building strategy, because people can only link to your site if they know it exists.
While few would consider site architecture, navigation, and URL design in the same breath as marketing buckworks' canonical observation is spot on:
People making links often just grab whatever is showing in the address bar, so make that as consistent as you possibly can so fewer variant URLs get into circulation.
Also give thought to future-proofing. Try to structure your URLs so they won't ever need to change. If you ever do need to change URLs, be sure to set up appropriate redirects, don't just leave the old URLs to break.
Note: rel=canonical is a bandaid not a best practice.
When looking at a link 'out there' also look at the page (and where on the page) it lands the visitor. Then considering the page topic from whence came and the page now on are subsequent (on page) links in a logical sequence? Are the potential in-site click tracks appropriate?
It's not just the link you acquire but the extant links once the visitor is acquired, not just the landing page content but that of the referring page and subsequent site pages. Is there a smooth flow or is the visitor buffeted/distracted?
And always always keep in mind your business purpose and the needs of the visitor. You went to the trouble of getting the link for resulting traffic (be it direct or SE) so don't drop the ball and the visitor once you've got them.
4. Marketing includes link building includes social interaction
Most businesses believe that to use social media they must have a formal presence, i.e. a FB business page, and then, given the dialled down (from ~18% to ~1%) natural sharing, buy ads. Which is good for FB.
I prefer to identify unexpected (as in non-obvious non-mercenary) SM influencers and then encourage them to share what they find worthwhile. Word of mouth, except for the rare viral tsunami, a modest slow growth endeavour but the traffic is eminently pre-qualified and motivated. It is social so keep it low key, keep it personal but by all means do try leverage wherever it seems appropriate. Likes are crap, shares are good, links are better, shares with links are best. Rinse and repeat for targeted platforms.
Note: I find that my app uptake by SM referred repeat visitors is many times that of normal repeat visitors.
Finally as Shepard says:
I've really started to think of link building as a "business development" area, even bordering on "outside sales".
Link building is customer acquisition is marketing is business development is serious stuff whether done indirectly via 'natural' unsolicited links or directly via solicitation. At least it is if you are in for the long haul.
Posted by cre8pc on 11 August 2015 - 04:05 PM
Just signed off. It went on for another 1.5 hours of gabbing - not live.
I had tech issues but finally got in there and on the panel in the last 15 minutes about.
The discussion off camera got into why there are so few women in SEO and in these forums. Lots of questions to John Mu. I did tell everyone that Ron said hi. Send2Paul came in after we off-live and a few other folks. Was a nice way to spend a few hours.