Category Archives: SEO

6 Content Curation Tools For Your Daily Digital Diet

You hear that content is king and the latest curations applications and tools allow you to take advantage of the content kings to manage your daily diet of news and information.  With the large volumes of content being produced today by everyone from the major networks, businesses and local bloggers and enthusiasts, individuals have a huge amount of content to curate and share with others.  RSS readers where the early innovators in curating the constant firehouse of information into our shotglass attention span but they were cumbersome and text heavy.

A few years ago I wrote about how aggregators like NetVibes and Pageflakes were allowing us to create mash up pages in minutes.  These tools are great for listening stations and but lack the intelligence that the new generation of curation tools offer.  These tools are also driving clicks like never before. These curation tools are helping us fill Facebook and Twitter streams, driving significant traffic volume, making corporate brands take notice.  I’ve even noticed how Delicious has updated their interface since the last update a few months ago with the release of stacks.

Scoop.it

Scoop.it is a nice tool to gather and distribute content from around the Web based on your interests and passions.  Scoop.it creates a page with previews and links to content you “scoop”and has good community tools for following other curators. Most of these sites have the ability to “Re” post content another user has already flagged.  Scoop.it has some great B2B curators in specific vertical markets and found it to be good resource to gather industry-specific content.

Scoop It website allows for content curation
Marty Smith's "Business Intelligence Revolution" on Scoop.it

Paper.li

Paper.li seems to be the most used of the content curation tools among people I follow on Twitter and probably has the most traffic of any This site has really done the best job of attracting uses and generating links. The aspect of publishing a daily paper based off your articles of interest and giving recognition for the source as a key contributors via Twitter is both annoying and brilliant. Even though I don’t want a daily paper for myself I find myself clicking through to friends papers and enjoying the clean interface.  And if you use Paper.li change your title to differentiate the daily tweets other than the typical tweets of “The YOUR NAME HERE Daily is out…”

Paper.ly Daily Newspaper Style Curation Site
Phil Buckley's "The 1918 Daily Amalgamation" on Paper.ly

Pinterest

Pinterest is the latest media story as it started popping into the list of sites driving the most traffic on the internet last month.  For the most part the initial growth was driven by women using it as a virtual scrapbook for visual items of interest such as clothes, interior design and food.  Pintrest is one part bookmarking and one part image gallery with a clean interface that allows you to create a more engaging curation.  You can only “pin” images to a board, but the link is preserved to allow for the click thereby driving traffic to the source site.  Also other community members can post comments similar to Facebook wall posts threads.  Pinterest is different from traditional bookmarking sites like Delicious, Digg and StumbleUpon in that it pins an image, movie or other media object with link to page.  However the ability to visually scan designs and rich media content is very nice.

Pinterest is driving major traffic and users to create electronic pinboards

Zite

My wife @MCDezigns showed Zite to me and we both love it.  Zite not only has the best content for what I’m interested in reading it also has great one-click bookmarking, easy social sharing with flexibility using multiple accounts.  I recently downloaded the iPhone app and use it everyday to quickly scan articles of interest and either read or bookmark them to read later in the day.  Zite has simple thumbs up/down approval tool similar to Pandora to customize your content.  The stream will even draw from your social stream with lesser presence than Flipboard.  Zite has a large library of Sections to choose from and they have groomed their content well in terms of quality and frequency.

Zite seems to have the best content and overall user experience.

Flipboard

Flipboard definetly captured everyones attention when iPads first came out.  Using simple swipe navigation it offers a great magazine of news and social media content.  For social media content I like how photos are previewed in larger sizes and it’s easier to view photos than on your Facebook wall or Twitter stream as well as photos sites like Instagram.  The latest release allows for multiple accounts so that you can share on iPad for multiple users as well as new iPhone version.

Flipboard creates personalized magazine of content from news sources and social media

Google Currents

The latest entry tinto the curation space is Google Currents. Matching the new Google interface design it works best with Google+ but has sharing and bookmarking integration. No doubt that curation and clicks resulting from Google Current users are are going to factor into how the Google ranking juice is made.  Currents has a library of major content sites as well as the ability to pull from any RSS feed in your Google Reader.  There is also a trending list of links that you can browse that is similar to search results you would see in the “News” result of a Google Search.  The clean interface and design is similar to Flipboard and Zite with the ability to simply swipe between pages and topics.  What I think Google should have done was skip the redesign of Google Reader and instead migrated it into Currents with a website interface.

Google Currents offers library of content sources and trending stream

The last three tools listed here are only avaiable as a tablet or smartphone app. Scoop.it, Paper.ly and Pinterest all offer websites to create your pages and manage your account.  These tools have bookmarklets and other simple tools to tag a page and categorize the content.

What’s your content curation tool of choice?

Marketing Lessons from The NFL

The National Football LeagueWe’re halfway through the National Football League (NFL) season and this is the time of year that I love.  Temperature is cooling down, leaves are changing, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the holidays and the NFL season is in full swing.  There’s a reason why NFL football is the number one sport in the United States, well-done marketing!  Everything you need to know about marketing can be learned from watching and studying the NFL.

Talent Acquisition

The NFL devised the draft in 1935 to acquire the top college players and have held a draft every year since 1936.  Since then it has become a prime time television event and the model for other leagues to acquire talent.  Even though there are several rounds, the first round and top dozen picks get more media attention and millions of dollars for the picks than some companies in a single year.

Branding and Merchandise

Official NFL jerseys sell from $80-150 depending on the team and player.  Watch or attend any game and you see a large portion of the fans wearing them.  Go to any sports bar on a Sunday and you’ll see even more.  In addition to jerseys, team logos appear on just about every product and each one pays a licensing fee to the NFL for the right to use or risk serious lawsuit from a team of high price lawyers and copyright infringement from the feds.

Advertising

Ads are everywhere but the uniform and the field.  The NFL knows that if they slap logos on the teams and the field of play it cheapens the game and could create backlash among fans.  Yet we see ads everywhere else and placed without all the tackiness of NASCAR and European Soccer that slap ads anywhere on the vehicle and athlete possible.

Special Events

The Superbowl, do I really need to explain this? It’s the most watch sporting event on the planet, every year.  Commercials cost a million dollars and can give you exposure for to launch a company.

Timing

Humans love routines and a consistent time and date makes it easy to build a regular routine around a sporting event.  The majority of the NFL games are played on Sunday and usually at 1 pm local time.  Even with Monday Night Football and the second-half Thursday night games, most fans get their fix starting at 1 pm on Sunday.  For the uber-fan you have primetime games on Sunday and Monday and the occasional Thursday night game.

Analysis

Instant replay was once a TV feature has now become part of the rules.  This year we see automatic review of scoring plays to eliminate error.  While I’m not a fan of instant replay as it slows the game down and takes out the human element, it is an analytical process that helps ensure accuracy.

Crisis Communications

When Hank Williams shouted Obama is a Nazi on Fox News ESPN cut the cord before the NFL had to step in. ESPN knew that the NFL does not need Hank Williams to sell MNF and realized his time had come.  Smart move and thank you!

Social Media

Early on the NFL realized that players tweeting during games would be a distraction and issued a social media policy banning tweets and social media messages starting 90 minutes before the game and lasting until after the game finishes.  Instad of waiting for an incident the NFL realized that a clear, concise policy was the best way to keep the attention on the field for players and staff.

Recognition

Only a half dozen players, coaches and contributors to the game get elected into the NFL Hall of Fame every year making it an honor and priveledge that most players aspire to.  Instead of flooding the Hall with great players, it’s reservered for the best of the best.  Wonder what it means to the inductees? Watch any induction ceremony and you’ll see a full range of emotions.

Word of Mouth

More water cooler chatter on Monday mornings is about football and specifically NFL football than any other topic on a regular basis.  How many times have you heard, “did you watch the game?” on Monday morning?

 

Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors Infographic

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors

This is a great infographic from Search Engine Land that demonstrates all the different touchpoints and components of SEO ranking. What I like about this image is that it communicates how the relationships and order of importance between the different working parts for prioritization and strategy alignment. Both on the page and off the page SEO ranking factors are grouped as well as violations and blocking. You can also view the full size table with more explanation of the different SEO ranking element symbols.

Search Engine Land has also created links from all the table elements to great information on best practices, how to guides and other posts for a complete SEO ranking manual. I find that this graphic is good for introducing SEO ranking concepts as well as planning and strategy development. The graphic links to the full SEO guide of tips and tutorials. This is a great starting point for anyone that wants to learn about how SEO works.

3 Awesome WordPress Plugins for SEO, Links and Personalization

Wordpress Plugins

Awesome WordPress Plugins

If you use WordPress for a small to medium sized business website then this post is for you. Over the past several months I have discovered some awesome WordPress plugins that can help you with your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), link management and create custom pages with dynamic widget management.

WordPress SEO Plugin

WordPress SEO is a great plugin to help with all the SEO work you need to do on your site. I first heard about this from local SEO guru Phil Buckley (@1918) and have been found it to be one of the best SEO tools I’ve used. Just this week a new release was announced and available that makes this plugin even better. WordPress SEO allows you to change the meta keywords and descriptions and other tags that search engines crawl and index on your site. But where it really adds value is by performing analysis on how well you focused on the keyword you want to be listed under. The latest release is now paired with Linkdex for enhanced analysis that reviews your post and gives you feedback on how to tweet your page for maximum optimization. This allows you to go back and edit the specific areas to focus more on what keyword you are wanting to show up for in search results.

Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin Page Analysis with Linkdex
Yoast WordPress SEO Page Analysis Screen with Linkdex

Broken Link Checker Plugin

The second WordPress plugin I’ve found useful is Broken Link Checker. Finding broken links is a never-ending task and this WordPress plugin does all the hard work for you. It detects links that don’t work, missing images and redirects and will alert you via the WordPress dashboard or email.  There are several options for page and posts types and you can prevent search engines from following broken links as well.  The interface cleanly lists all broken links and allows you to edit, update or remove the link depending on the circumstances.  I use this to find any broken internal links that may have happened from archiving or changing URLs as well as any links on other sites that have changed.  You can also scan the link source for links that are not really broken like older tweets that have been archived from Twitter and other sites.

Broken Link Checker WordPress Plugin Screen
Broken Link Checker Plugin Screen

Dynamic Widgets Plugin

Creating a personalized experience is key to website design and conversion optimization. With the Dynamic Widgets WordPress plugin you can do just that. This plugin allows you to choose which pages that specific widgets will appear on the page.  The settings are very robust and can be set according to user roles, dates, pages, categories and Buddypress groups to name a few.  These options allow you to set  default and custom settings for specific widgets.  For example if you want to cross sell on a landing or conversion page you can set those widgets to appear on those pages and any child pages.  Using this tool requires some level of widget modeling and you may find it necessary to develop a chart that lists what widgets should appear on what pages depending on your specific criteria.  It takes some work to get it all setup but in the end it is worth it.

Dynamic Widgets plugin screen
Dynamic Widgets plugin screen

I hope you find these WordPress plugins as valuable as I have. What are some of the WordPress plugins that you have found to be helpful?

Movember Interview: Protea Digital Marketing

I had the opportunity to meet and interview Steven Kent (@proteadigital) in December.  Steven took me up on my offer to interview anyone that donated $50 to my Movember fund and I was glad he did.  After meeting with Steven and learning about his business I found out that he really knows his stuff.

Steven Kent

Steven is the Director and Owner of Protea Digital Marketing, which provides integrated digital marketing services to small and medium sized businesses.  Steven started Protea in November of 2009 after spending a few years at an email marketing company.  Now he serves as an outsourced marketing department for small to medium sized business primarily focusing on pay per click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) services.

Originally from South Africa, Steven came to the Triangle to attend Duke University where he studied public policy.  After finishing his degree he spent a few years working for an enterprise software and business process consulting company.  During his tenure he was able to travel around the world working on projects in far away destinations like Malaysia.

I asked Steven how much of the marketing role he performs for his clients.  He told me that the dose most of the work himself and hires graphic designers when he needs design work and or developers for custom applications.  He likes PPC and feels that, “basically it works, very controllable and targetable,” for his clients.

We discussed how PPC works for B2B companies and Steven’s view was that it helps with company and brand discovery and awareness as well as keeping potential customers interested.  One of his biggest successes has been being able to demonstrate results on PPC campaigns that can drive revenue upwards of 55%.

I asked Steven what some of his challenges have been.  He stated that it’s hard to find people that understand the technology as well as the marketing aspect.  “You tend to find people that are one way or the other.”

Steven believes that being ethical in marketing is critical.  There are too many horror stories of how businesses hire digital marketing consultants and have nothing to show for the costs.  Steven’s approach is to do quality projects and do them well.  There are too many companies that cut corners or don’t perform in a good way.  He’s also not afraid to turn down business if the company does not have a quality product or service.

Protea Digital Marketing

I also asked Steven where he sees Protea in the future.  He wants to grow his business and sees a need in 10-15 employee sized companies that done have web marketing expertise.  Protea can offer them top quality we marketing at an affordable price.

I want to thank Steven for his donation and time.  I enjoyed meeting him and learning more about his business and background.  Needless to say if you are a small company that needs web marketing expertise, especially in PPC and SEO, Steven is a great resource.

Disclaimer: Steven donated $50 to my Movember Men’s Cancer Raising Fund based on my offer to interview anyone in the Greater Raleigh Area that donated $50.  I in no way received any compensation for the interview.