SEO Content Marketing Roundup, Week Ending April 11th, 2012

Mystery…suspense…who dun it…and why? In this week’s latest and greatest Web-writing news, SEO & search pro’s suspect a sneaky weekend Panda update is behind maimed rankings, social media marketers investigate why Facebook really bought Instagram, while content marketers (not so mysteriously) talk up blogging and email marketing. Many twists & turns in this week’s episode – end the suspense with these satisfying selections! Enjoy…

Content Marketing

Kaila Strong discusses quality lead generation (part 1) via content – and understanding it – at Vertical Measures.

From a B2B perspective, balancing lead generation quantity with quality is posted at Marketo.

Also in the B2B vein, Lee Odden posts “5 Ways to Win with B2B Content Marketing & Social Media” at Top Rank.

Marketing Sherpa features email marketing in its weekly research chart with “Email marketers who quantify ROI are in the minority.”

Nathan Richter shares four ways to use email to improve website conversions at ClickZ.

On the fence about blogging? Gabriel Gervelis presents analytics data in favor of blogging, as well as time-saving tools, at Search Engine Journal.

Anna Ritchie pitches “The Ultimate Guide to Blogging,” available as a free download, at Content Marketing Institute.

More resources for blogging are at KISSmetrics, with a nicely segmented list of “44 Must Read Resources on Content Marketing.”

Neil Patel posts “10 Lessons Seth Godin Can Teach You About Blogging” at QuickSprout.

Seth Godin discusses the growing phenomenom of “twitching” in the accelerated world of the social internet.

Lauren Sorenson posts “Why Marketers Should Invest in Visual Content Creation” at HubSpot.

Barbara Apple Sullivan discusses the relatively new marketing practice of “mobile brand engagement” at iMedia Connection.

Jakob Nielsen discusses the two different designs required for a good user experience (mobile vs. desktop users), and shares “cross-linking to make it all work.”

Roger Dooley discusses gamification and the psyche’s reward system with “Juice Your Marketing with Dopamine” at Neuromarketing.

Brendan Cournoyer posts “3 Things to Look For when Hiring a Journalist for Content Marketing” at Content Marketing Institute.

Writing a marketing ebook? Pamela Vaughan shares “11 Essential Elements of a Well-Designed Marketing Ebook” at HubSpot.

SEO & Search

Turns out that the big G was indeed the butler who did it: Clarissa Sajbl reports that Google is “focusing on foul links and link-building strategies” and site/page over-optimization with “Google’s Latest Panda Roll-Out: April 2012: The Basics” at State of Search.

Really? Danny Goodwin reports that according to a U.S. poll (ABC News/Washington Post), Google is “loved” more than Apple, Facebook, and Twitter – at Search Engine Watch.

Matt McGee reports that besieged search giant Yahoo is undergoing a company-wide restructuring and that its search stays alive, “at least on paper,” at Search Engine Land.

Eric Ward warns of signs of over-optimized linking in light of Google’s over optimization penalty, also at Search Engine Land.

Stoney G. DeGeyter also discusses Google’s over-optimization penalty – asking if you’re ready for seven “what-if’s” – at Search Engine Journal.

Aaron Wall posts his interview with Internet Marketing Ninja Jim Boykin on “… links and the changing face of SEO….” at SEObook.

Danny Sullivan takes a look at Google’s “project glass” – “Google’s Siri For Your Eyes” – embedding its video on the product, at Search Engine Land.

Bill Slawski discusses how Google might index “link behavior” information at SEO by the Sea.

Dr. Pete entertains the question “What’s Better – On-page SEO or Link Building?” at SEOmoz.

Rand Fishkin suggest five “Non-Intuitive Search Queries & Resources for Link Building,” also at SEOmoz.

Long-tail SEO and the overall success of an SEO campaign are the subject of Ray “Catfish” Comstock’s post, “4 SEO Recommendations to Target the Long Tail,” at Search Engine Watch.

Level 343 talks about the preventative care of your website, providing helpful details down to coding issues, with “Proofing for Problems: SEO and Web Development.”

Kerry Dean gets down to the basics of sound SEO and site optimization with “In This Bright SEO Future, Don’t Forget The Basics,” at Search Engine Land.

Ben Goodsell posts a how-to on getting the most out of SEO extensions and add-on’s at Search Engine Watch.

Lars Lofgren discusses “8 Google Analytics Features Every Site MUST Have Enabled” at KISSmetrics.

Jonathan Allen posts the delightful “Personalized Search, Clients from Hell and How Not To Be An SEO” – the three winning animation shorts from Linkdex Stories’ competition, plus his own – at Search Engine Watch.

Speaking of Search Engine Watch, it provided some exceptional coverage of SES New York sessions, including:

  • “Integrated Marketing: Why Search Needs a Large Seat at the Table,” by Eric Enge.
  • “Competitive SEO Analysis: Data, Creativity & Understanding the Competitive Landscape” by Derek Edmond.
  • “7 New Ways to Think About SEO & Converged Media Metrics” by Andy Betts.

Social Media Marketing

Josh Constine and Kim-Mai Cutler report on Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, turning “its budding rival into its standalone photo app,” at TechCrunch.

Citing Mark Zuckerberg’s own blog post, Om Malik goes beyond the headlines with his insight into the real reason Facebook bought Instagram at GigaOm.

ClickZ’s Christopher Heine reports that Facebook’s Instagram purchase was to boost its mobile strength.

At TheNextWeb, Harrison Weber predicts that Google’s response will be to buy an Instagram competitor (“and fast”).

“LinkedIn Group Search” headlines Social Media Examiner’s weekly news.

Citing Experian’s new 2012 Digital Marketer study, Search Engine Watch reports that Pinterest is now the third most popular social network (behind Facebook at #1 and Twitter, #2).

Kailei Richardson answers marketers’ questions about Pinterest, beginning with what the social platform is to begin with, at iMedia Connection.

Bryden McGrath posts a how-to on uploading more original content to Pinterest (and discusses copyright issues) at Portent.

Discussing Facebook’s upcoming IPO, Mark Schaefer posts “Why Facebook will become the most dangerous company on earth” at {grow}.

Jason Keath releases “The 2012 Facebook Advertising Report,” based on a group survey effort, posting the results via infographic and offering a free download at Social Fresh.

Brian Solis reports that “Brands Give Facebook F-Commerce an F” at his blog.

Miranda Miller pulls some valuable insights from Social Media Examiner’s industry survey with “The 5 Ws of Social Media Marketing: Industry Survey Insights,” at Search Engine Watch.

Also taking a deeper look into the SME industry survey is Gini Dietrich, focusing on local search and Google, at Spin Sucks.

Kristi Hines posts “Measuring Socia Media ROI & Goal Conversions with Google Analytics 5” at unbounce.

Jenn Deering Davis discusses “5 Essential & Easy Social Media Metrics You Should Be Measuring Right Now” at KISSmetrics.

Matt McGee posts “How to Find Your Customers on Social Networks” at Small Business Search Engine Marketing.

Brian Solis posts “Meet Generation C: The Connected Customer” at his blog.

Marcus Sheridan shares “5 Creative Tips to Increase Blog Traffic and Boost Your Business” at Social Media Examiner.

Mark Nicholson posts “How to Shield Your Brand’s Social Reputation” at Jeff Bullas’s blog.

Ashley Zeckman shares “5 Tips for Taking the ‘FUD’ out of Twitter for Employees” – fear, uncertainty and doubt – at Top Rank.

So “How Followable are You on Twitter?” Matt McGee poses the question to small businesses at Small Business Search Marketing.

Finally, Debby Hemly posts “26 Elements of a Gamification Marketing Strategy” at Social Media Examiner.

photo thanks to rberteig

SEO Content Marketing Roundup, Week Ending April 4th, 2012

Information is power: In this week’s latest and greatest Web-writing news, marketers are handed volumes of information garnered from the latest industry research and surveys. SEO and search pro’s face some 50 Google updates, social media marketers digest the latest industry survey report, while content marketers examine every which way to better their business. These powerful pearls of info (and much more) await you like goodies in an Easter basket…enjoy this week’s yummy picks!

Content Marketing

So are you making these mistakes with your content? Level 343 goes beyond the usual posts about copywriting errors with an in-depth look at content snafu’s that happen to the best of us.

Lee Odden answers 12+ business blogging and community building questions (from twitter chats) at Top Rank.

Jeff Freund discusses strategic site content optimization with “A brand’s guide to content marketing” at iMedia Connection.

Carl Friesen discusses how to use opinions to create powerful content at Content Marketing Institute.

Carol S. Valdez posts 4 steps to repurposing content (& looking sharp!) with “Repurpose Web Content Like a Fashionista” at Shelly Bowen’s pybop.

Seth Godin discusses “The essential question to ask before extending your brand.”

Reb Carlson interviews JESS3’s CEO Jesse Thomas and designer Tiffany Farrant-Gonzalez about turning dirt-dull company data into compelling visualization at The Content Strategist.

Are you in the cloud? MarketingProfs asks if your business needs a cloud broker.

Jack Aaronson pens the delightful “You Can’t Cure Stupid: When It’s OK to Lost Customers” at ClickZ.

Ahava Liebtag  posts “5 Questions to Ask before Jumping on the Infographics Bandwagon”at Content Marketing Institute.

SEO & Search

Citing Google’s 50 March (“search quality”) updates, Matt McGee summarizes the more salient points at Search Engine Land.

At Search Engine Watch, Greg Jarboe posts SEW’s “Exclusive Interview on Search Industy Issues with Sloof Lirpa,” the reclusive founder and director of the Sloof Lirpa Center for the Study of Long Tail Profitability.

Search Engine Land posts an insightful read that takes an in-depth look at the “SoLoMo” trend, with “The Golden Triad Of Search Marketing: How To Leverage It For Massive Success.”

David Gould posts a creative read on “What ‘Draw Something’ Teaches Us About Website Optimization” at Vertical Measures.

Summarizing participants’ Twitter feedback from the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, Jim Sterne posts “Today’s 5 Top Analytical Problems” at ClickZ.

Avinash Kaushik posts “Multi-Channel Attribution: Definitions, Models and a Reality Check” at Occam’s Razor.

Jenny Halasz continues her series for SEO beginners with “How To Develop A Keyword Plan” at Search Engine Land.

For those in retail, Dan Morrison posts “keyword expansion resources and strategies,” also at Search Engine Land.

MarketingProfs posts the brief, basic “3 Ways to Know Your SEO is Working.”

For the techie/advanced SEO, Daniel Butler gives “the lowdown on structured data and” at SEOmoz.

In his weekly Q&A video, Arnie Kuenn explores the question of whether Google+ will play a big role in future search results, at Vertical Measures.

Eric Ward posts the sharp “Dark Side of the Links: It’s All Fun & Games ‘Til Google Catches On” at Search Engine Watch.

Sujan Patel lists the 15 best link-building tools at Search Engine Journal.

Craig Bradford posts a helpful, no-nonsense guide to building passive links for those without the luxury of a link-building budget at SEOmoz.

Josh McCoy weighs in on the linking discussion with “Internal Linking, the Other Linking” at Search Engine Watch.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Examiner has released its fourth annual social media marketing industry survey (2012) in which “…more than 3800 marketers reveal where they focus their social media activities, how much time they invest and what the rewards are,” states Michael Stelzner. The 42-page report is available for (free) immediate download thru April 19th.

Lee Odden discusses highlights from the SME 2012 industry report (above) at Top Rank.

Mack Collier asks what the difference is between a brand advocate and a brand ambassador at his blog.

Brian Solis posts “The 6 Pillars of Social Commerce: Understanding the psychology of engagement” at his blog.

Jeff Bullas discusses “Why Content is the Foundation of your Social Media Marketing” at his blog.

Gini Dietrich posts the (important and) insightful “Five Things to Watch Out For as Facebook goes Public”at Spin Sucks.

Citing a recent report from Simply Measured, Greg Finn reports that Facebook’s Timeline yields a 46-percent higher engagement per post, at Marketing Land.

Corey Eridon debates Pinterest vs. Google+, asking which of the new social networks is worth marketers’ time, at HubSpot.

Eugen Oprea posts a helpful, step-by-step how-to on tracking social media traffic with Google Analytics at Social Media Examiner.

Matt McGee reports that Twitter’s new guide for small businesses is “pretty good,” at Small Business Search Engine Marketing.

Jon Elvekrog shares four smart Twitter tactics for brands at iMedia Connection.

Five reasons why LinkedIn is boring – but in a good way –  are discussed in a guest post by Anthony Juliano at Convince and Convert.

“LinkedIn Networking Gets Easier” headlines Social Media Examiner’s weekly news.

Finally, another great post by Brian Solis: “Survival of the Fitting: 10 important tenets to survive Digital Darwinism.”

photo thanks to uberculture (Jeremy Noble)

How to Turn Testimonials into Killer Sales Copy

For many of us, writing sales pages can be challenging.

Fortunately, there is a rich resource you can tap for crafting convincing sales copy: tune in and learn how you can draw on your happy customers’ testimonials for the specific content you need to write a killer sales page:

Sales writing can be challenging…

  • You need to tell your prospects ”what’s in it for them.”

All of the content that you write needs to be customer-focused: your prospects want to know what’s in it for them.

  • But if you’re new to sales writing, it’s easy to write about features and forget about benefits.

If you’re brand new to sales writing, or if you don’t’ do it all that often, it’s easy to lapse into a discussion about the great features of your product – its color, shape, and dimensions – rather than how those features can actually benefit or otherwise help your prospect.

In the case of a service, you may say “we offer a, b, and c” but fail to say how these offerings can improve your prospects’ bottom line.

Testimonials provide valuable insight…

Here’s an easy way to work around the features vs. benefits conundrum and jump-start the process of writing a kick-butt sales page: rather than starting the sales writing process first, instead have the first step be gathering customer testimonials about your product or service.

  • Why not discover what your customers love about your product or service?

By discovering what it is your customers love about your product or service, you’re spared trying to guess or make a judgment call about what the most important benefit statement should be. You can simply gather customer testimonials and find out for yourself!

  • When you write your content, you can refer to the testimonials and create better benefit statements.

In crafting your sales copy, you can refer to your customer testimonials to provide content rich with tangible, specific benefit statements.

For example, maybe you own a Pilates studio and have helped a lot of people with back problems. If you see that specific benefit mentioned time and again in your customer testimonials, then you might weave it into your sales copy: “We help people with back problems,” and then add a sample testimonial.

Or, it might be that you own a company that helps other companies with their accounting. Perhaps you can say that you helped company X streamline their accounting process, and even made it fun. If that’s the feedback from your clients – that they enjoy working with you and find it fun to work with you – then by all means use it in your sales copy!

Consider asking questions like…

Using client testimonials is a different way to slant how you write the sales page.

When you’re getting ready to send out those requests for testimonials, rather than say “ Hey Bob, you’re a great customer and I’m wondering if you would write a brief testimonial for me” – which might strike Bob as headlights strike deer, or elicit something that doesn’t work the way you’d hoped – instead refine your request, such as:

  • How has my product/service helped you? Please be specific.

The hope here is that folks will talk about how they saved or made money working with you – something that speaks to how working with you helped improve their bottom line.

  • What were your challenges before finding my business?

In this way you can take your customer’s story and weave into your sales copy.

  • Why did you decide to work with my company over my competitors?

The answer to this can enlighten you as to your U.S.P. (Unique Sales Proposition) and provide specific insights to include in your sales copy.

You can simply put these questions in an email, taking care not to overwhelm – maybe limit them to five.

Once you’ve gathered your customer testimonials, you will have a fantastic platform to write that sales page!

This approach provides four benefits…

  • The writing process will go much faster. You don’t have to “guess” at benefits.
  • If a testimonial is really good, you can expand it into a case study, interview, or blog post.
  • You’ll have powerful “specifics” that you can weave into your Web copy.
  • You’ll have testimonials!

And as a final note: remember to sprinkle your testimonials throughout your site – you’ll wow your prospects even more!

SEO content marketing roundup, week ending March 14th, 2012

The spring equinox is just around the corner –  have you noticed its telltale manic weather in your locale? Perhaps reflecting the March madness is this week’s latest and greatest Web writing news, as it defies any coherent, unifying thread!

Content marketers are all over the map with talk about blogging, e-mail design and more, while SEO and search folks run the gamut from detailed how-to’s to overarching thought pieces, and social media marketers discuss everything from YouTube to authority to social link graphs…name it, it’s being chatted up…So hang onto your hat and enjoy an early spring blast of news & links!

Content Marketing

Lee Odden discusses how to increase your blog traffic, readership and community at Top Rank.

So are the content needs of your audience caught in your blind spot? A sharp read by Mark Burgess at Blue Focus Marketing.

Here’s a bright thought: using data to find those most likely to “click” is posted by Gabe Donnini at Marketing Land.

Wayne English posts a how-to on using “sound” reputation management as a way to respond to negative feedback at Content Marketing Institute.

Julie Perry answers three common questions about creating web videos for online marketing at Target Marketing Magazine.

Jeff Bullas lists nine “awesome” reasons for using infographics in your content marketing at his blog.

Marketing Sherpa’s Research Chart of the week features the rising financial expectations among CMOs for their email marketing programs.

In a related email marketing post, Marketing Sherpa features a how-to on email design with five insights to improve open and clickthrough rates.

Stacey Acevero posts a great infographic on the evolution of a PR pro at PR Web.

Greg Sterling delves deeper into the prevailing headlines/thought about consumers’ supposed preference for the mobile web to app’s at Search Engine Land.

Cheryl Burgess takes on the ROI of business blogs with “Do the Math to Calculate the ROI of Business Blogs” at Blue Focus Marketing.

SEO & Search

Hope for the keyword data challenged (aren’t we all): Ben Goodsell posts “Recovering (Not-Provided) Keyword Data” at Search Engine Watch.

So are you using the right keywords on your site? Stoney G. DeGeyter posts a simple 3-rule test at Search Engine Journal.

Dr. Pete posts an open letter to new SEO’s at SEOmoz.

Also for new SEO’s: Jenny Halasz posts tips for growing your keyword “seeds” with Excel formulas at Search Engine Land.

Brian Massey (“The Conversions Scientist”) posts an astute how-to on designing your website for profit (rather than your ego) at Search Engine Land.

Ian Lurie posts how marketing “hubris” (remember anything from college humanities?) will get you killed (especially in search) at Conversation Marketing.

An exceptional read by Aaron Wall on Google’s big-brand bias (and much more), “Branding & the Cycle,” is posted at SEObook.

Rand Fishkin discusses SEO nomenclature with “The Brand of SEO and the Trend of Inbound Marketing” at SEOmoz.

Bill Slawski sleuths out a missing piece of the Google search puzzle with “How Google Data Centers may be Split between Regional and Global  Data” at SEO by the Sea.

Citing Google’s latest Webmaster tools update, Vanessa Fox questions whether its revamp of its crawl errors is for the better at Search Engine Land.

Avinash Kaushik posts “ A Big Data Imperative: Driving Big Action” with his usual acumen at Occam’s Razor.

Eric Ward posts “4 reasons the social link graph will have to improve” (from a search perspective) at Search Engine Land.

Will Critchlow shares the link-building tools used at Distilled (many of them free) with his guest post at SEOmoz.

Greg Finn posts how “Google Meets Miss Manners” by encouraging searchers to thank those who +1’ed content directly in search results – no kidding – at Search Engine Land.

Social Media Marketing

New YouTube changes headline Social Media Examiner’s weekly news.

Kerry Dean shares his mission for finding the perfect social-sharing badge implementation with “The Internet: It’s Like Real Life, Only With Buttons,” at Search Engine Land.

Danny Goodwin posts a quick look at the latest reports showing how social is influencing advertising with “Social Ads Work For Google (+), Facebook,” at Search Engine Watch.

Eric Enge interviews Bing’s Paul Yiu on “Author Authority and Social Media” at Stone Temple (Consulting).

Erez Barak discusses “3 Social Marketing Communication Methods” and when and how to apply each at Search Engine Watch.

Matt McGee reports that Twitter has bought Posterous (and will “keep it alive, for now”) at Marketing Land.

How to optimize Twitter, from being real to using hashtags and more, is posted by Lisa Buyer at Search Engine Watch.

Mack Collier posts a how-to on writing blog posts that both Google and Twitter will love.

Brian Solis discusses how “Enterprise Social Networking is More Than Facebook Behind a Firewall.”

Level 343 talks social privacy (or the illusion therof) with “The Right to Demand Your Social Passwords?”

Stephanie Sammons shares four tips for creating a LinkedIn company page at Social Media Examiner.

photo thanks to Muffet (liz west)

Our 5 Hottest SEO Copywriting Videos

Greetings! Today we’re featuring our five hottest SEO copywriting video how-to’s, according to our YouTube viewers.

From what SEO copywriting is to creating a killer home page to optimizing for Google’s expanded site links, our YouTube subscribers found these five of our 53 videos (to date)  the best of the bunch.

Counting down in order of popularity, from the all-time hottest Web-writing tip to the fifth most popular video, here they are! Enjoy and share…

Hot Video Tip #1: How many words should be on your home page? A closer look  

In this video, Heather shares guidelines for your site’s home page wordcount, then discusses moving beyond counting words to the factors that matter most when writing your home page. Tune in to learn what those factors are!

Hot Video Tip #2: 5 sure-fire ways to create a killer home page  

As the second conversions opportunity following the search engine results page, your home page is the most important page on your site. Here, Heather addresses five proven ways to create a killer home page that serves both the search engines and your readers.

Hot Video Tip #3: What is SEO copywriting and why is it important to my site?

In one of the more fundamental of her 53 YouTube video posts, Heather defines what SEO copywriting is – and what it is not – as well as why it is essential for a website to achieve competitive search rankings.

Hot Video Tip #4: How to write for Google’s Panda Update

About a year ago, when Google rolled out the first of its Panda updates (penalizing the “content farms” and also initially called the “Farmer Update”), many folks saw their search engine rankings take a dive. In this video that still holds true today, Heather discusses how to satisfy the Panda with substantive content.

Hot Video Tip #5: How to write for Google’s expanded sitelinks

With Google’s expansion of its search results to include a “six-pack” of website links came a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of the extra real estate with optimized page titles and metadescriptions. In this video, Heather shows just how to go about doing that for maximum search engine appeal.

photo thanks to p.Gordon

SEO Content Marketing Roundup, Week Ending February 1st, 2012

In this week’s latest and greatest Web-writing news, all is relatively quiet on all fronts as marketers drop the SOPA bone and focus on Google+ and Search+: Content marketers discuss practicalities, strategy and channels; the SEO and search community find ways to either deal with, benefit from, or work around Google’s Search+; and social media marketers share ways to integrate the Google+ platform and use Pinterest. It’s definitely a you+ world out there, and it looks as though it’s here to stay…enjoy!

Content Marketing

Perhaps the most balanced and comprehensive post to come out all week about the Google+/Search+ hybrid is Lee Odden’s “Google+ Optimization vs. Community Building: Pros & Cons of Google SPYW” at Top Rank.

Level 343 posts a smart discussion about budgeting for online marketing and measuring ROI (bonus – an actual ROI formula) with “Marketing Online – What Was That ROI Formula Again?”

Jeff Bullas discusses five lessons from Coca-Cola’s new content marketing strategy (and builds on his “liquid content” thesis) at his blog.

Michael Kolowich shares ways to reduce your video content budget at Content Marketing Institute.

Building an online portfolio? Ann Smarty posts a detailed how-to on creating (and publicizing) a master feed of all your guest posts at SEO Smarty.

Heidi Cohen posts five quotes representing the “core principles of content marketing” from David Ogilvy, “the father of content marketing,” at her blog.

Andrew Dumont outlines five steps to “bootstrapping your PR efforts” at SEOmoz.

B2C (Business 2 Community) shows what black hat content marketing for SEO looks like.

Lee Odden shares five basic SEO troubleshooting tips for content marketers at Top Rank.

SEO & Search

Jason Cormier discusses “why your business needs to be on Google+ now” at Search Engine Watch.

Dr. Pete shares four ways to de-personalize Google (un-plus it) in your search at SEOmoz.

Nathan Safran discusses how Google’s Search+ could threaten its “core search business” at Search Engine Watch.

Kristi Hines lists 40 advanced and alternative search engines at KISSmetrics.

Danny Goodwin reports on Google’s new privacy policy, noting that it combines user data from all Google services, at Search Engine Watch.

Corey Eridon shares “Five Awesome Landing Page Lessons From Real Life Examples” at HubSpot.

Your local SEO checklist for 2012 is posted at Search Engine Guide.

For enterprise-level SEO, Brian Provost posts the ultimate guide to enterprise SEO (25 things to know before you take the plunge) at Search Engine Land.

Avinash Kaushik posts “Google Analytics Tutorial: 8 Valuable Tips to Hustle with Data,” aimed at inspiring the reader to get involved with analytics, at Occam’s Razor.

P.J. Fusco discusses how Google’s Search+ is changing SEO at Search Engine Watch.

Glenn Gabe discusses how Google’s Search+ could impact search engine marketing with seven examples, at Search Engine Journal.

So will Google be changing your titles and descriptions? Bill Slawski examines the question at SEO by the Sea.

Andy Komack poses three questions to three experts about mobile SEO at Blue Train Mobile.

Greg Sterling discusses the results of an eye- and click-tracking study conducted by Mediative, showing that customer reviews and images drive clicks in mobile users, at Search Engine Land.

Neil Patel discusses three ranking factors that matter (“but nobody seems to care about”) at Search Engine Journal.

Geoff Kenyon discusses avoiding over-optimization with targeted anchor text distribution at SEOmoz

George Aspland posts 12 steps to optimizing a webpage for organic keywords at Search Engine Land.

Melissa Fach posts “Klout Myth Busters: Thoughts from the Experts” at Search Engine Journal.

Finally, Ethan Lyon discusses finding guest post links via a custom Twitter search tool (that he made) at SEOmoz.

Social Media Marketing

The top 10 social media blogs of 2012 are posted at Social Media Examiner.

Google+ updates headlines Social Media Examiner’s weekly news.

Guillaume Bouchard posts a how-to on harmonizing Google+ with your other social platforms at Search Engine Watch.

Aaron Friedman discusses how G+ is not a Facebook killer and was never intended to be with “Google+ Growing Your Social Network: Quantity vs. Quality” at Search Engine Land.

Rebecca Corliss reports that LinkedIn is 277-percent more effective for lead generation than are Facebook and Twitter, at HubSpot.

Martin Solar posts an industry discussion of the “true nature” of social media ROI at Search Engine Journal.

Casey Zeman posts five ways to brand your (new) YouTube profile at Social Media Examiner.

Lauren Indvik reports that Pinterest has become the top traffic driver for retailers via an infographic at Mashable.

Kaila Strong discusses seven creative ways that your brand can use Pinterest at ClickZ.

Pamela Vaughan posts “the ultimate guide to mastering Pinterest for marketing” at HubSpot.

Jeff Bullas posts a how-to on taking advantage of the latest Facebook updates at his blog.

Neil Patel posts no less than 100 ways to become a Twitter “power user” at Quick Sprout.

Brian Solis discusses five trends that will change CRM at his blog.

Finally, Corina Mackay posts three new apps to help you manage your social networks at Social Media Examiner.

photo credit to Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho

3 More Ways to Tell If Your Sales Copy Sucks

Welcome back! In this SEO copywriting how-to, Heather builds on her last video: How to tell if your sales copy sucks.

Realizing there are several more ways to tell that your sales copy sucks, here Heather addresses three more characteristics that mark bad sales copy – and then shares on how to go about fixing them so that your sales content pops off the page.

Tune in to learn how refining your website’s tone and feel, sharing specific benefits with your readers, and using keyphrases deftly can transform your sales copy from sucky into conversions-driving, reader-focused gold!

1. The tone and feel is off base

While this is an issue that mostly affects B2B sites, any website can suffer from this malady.

  • Think about your reader when you’re writing your copy – what would you say if you spoke with them in person?

There’s something about sitting down and writing something – especially Web copy – that flashes some folks back to high school English class.

They then create this very formal-sounding document that would stand up really well in an English class, but when it comes to communicating and connecting online it falls short.

  • A more “formal” tone and feel does not make you sound smarter.

In another scenario, there are some companies that believe that a formal tone and feel makes them sound smarter, and automatically conveys that they are an “expert” in their field.

  • Newsflash! Formal tone and feel does not an expert make.

So instead of flashing back to that high school or college English class, or thinking that a formal tone and feel is what you need (which, in some cases it could be, depending on your audience and subject matter), again try to think about how you would communicate with folks if they called you directly.

Then, try to translate that to what you are writing online so that some warmth and personality shine through.

  • If you’re not sure if you’re connecting in this fluid and natural way online, consider sharing your sales copy with someone who knows you, as well as your company.

Ask them: “Does this sound like me?” and “When I talk to folks online, is it the way I usually sound, or am I making myself sound different somehow?”

A trusted colleague or editor can give you some valuable feedback about how you can loosen up and warm up your copy with personalized content, but still manage to convey a solid and credible business tone and feel.

2. You don’t provide any real information because “you want people to call you.”

Sharing just a hint of your helpful information that doesn’t give away too much may seem savvy. Wrong!

Yes, it may sound edgy, it may sound interesting, but at the end of the day it doesn’t convey the benefits your company can provide prospects.

  • Guess what? People probably won’t call you.

If you’re going down this path as a marketing strategy, the very real possibility is that folks probably won’t bother to call you. After all, your competition is only a back-click away.

It’s so easy for folks to realize that “Given company X isn’t providing me with any helpful information, let’s check out what company Y has to offer.”

  • Always showcase your value, expertise and benefits.

So be sure to track what your competitors are doing (and not doing) and make sure that you provide substantive information that addresses what your audience cares about.

Giving your readers solid information is a fantastic way to showcase your expertise and value, as well as inform them about exactly what you can do for them.

3. You add a bunch of keyphrases “just in case.”

  • It won’t help.
  • It will turn off your readers.
  • Did I mention that it won’t help?

It’s somewhat (darkly) funny that Google Analytics demi-god Matt Cutts has come out with a video discussing the myth of keyphrase density, and the myths surrounding the myth – only to hear folks say “Well, I know what he said, but I still have this feeling that if I add a few more keyphrases to my content that’s going to make all the difference – I’m going to make all sorts of money and my life is going to be grand!”

Ah, if only it were so. But it’s not real or realistic, so please: Don’t do this.

Instead, focus on your readers and do those things that will best help them.

Remember: focus on your reader, not SEO for SEO’s sake

  • Yes, you do want to add keyphrases to your content.
  • Yes, you want to make sure that you have those SEO copywriting bases covered.
  • But adding random keyphrases or repeating keyphrases or doing anything that detracts from valuable content is not going to help you and it’s gonna turn off your readers, so DON’T DO IT!


photo credit to trindade.joao

SEO Content Marketing Roundup, Week Ending January 25th, 2012

Yet another busy week is captured in this edition of the latest and greatest Web writing news! “Data retention” legislation usurps SOPA as the newest threat to online privacy and freedom, while Apple’s astonishing first-quarter $13.1 billion profit has all online marketers in a state of shock and awe.

Meanwhile, the big G is roasting in both internal and external PR debacles with its self-serving Google+ corruption of search results, and Facebook rolls out its widely-anticipated open graph app’s.

Whatever your calling – content, social media, SEO and/or search  – you’re sure to find a post or two to illuminate your world here…Enjoy!

Follow-Up on The SOPA Saga

Todd Wasserman reports that SOPA is no more as Lamar Smith, the chief sponsor of the bill, pulls it (for now) at Mashable.

Miranda Miller warns of an emerging threat to online privacy and freedom in the way of legislation forcing internet service providers to collect and retain data on all users, at Search Engine Watch.

Ian Lurie rips into both SOPA and content thieves at Conversation Marketing.

Content Marketing

Level 343 discusses using the old-school marketing concept of “AIDA” (Awareness/Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) as part of a smart internet marketing strategy.

Heidi Cohen shares seven tips for creating content “that pulls prospects in” at Content Marketing Institute.

Five (likely) flaws in your mobile content marketing strategy are shared by Scott Forshay at Mashable.

Pamela Vaughan posts the ambitious and comprehensive “Everything Marketers Need to Measure and Prove Content ROI” at HubSpot.

Incredible stat’s from YouTube: Danny Goodwin of Search Engine Watch reports that YouTube is now serving 4 billion videos a day.

Mike Lewis discusses why online video marketing is essential for marketers in 2012 at Socialnomics.

Stephanie Tilton discusses how to join the ranks of “best in class” content marketers at Content Marketing Institute.

SEO & Search

Quantum growth: TechCrunch posts “Apple’s Massive Numbers And Some Context,” noting that Apple’s 2012 first quarter profit of $13.1 billion is equivalent to its fourth quarter revenue of 2010.

WordStream’s Larry Kim posts a breakdown of the top 10 industries contributing to Google’s 2011 advertising revenues of $37.9 billion, complete with an infographic noting each industry’s commonly-used keywords and their cost per click.

Citing comScore’s December 2011 data and Media Matrix rankings, Matt McGee reports on the widening gap between the “big three” search engines and Facebook (in terms of both aggregate and unique visits) at Marketing Land.

Kate Freeman posts “Bill Gates Recalls Final Talks with Steve Jobs” at Mashable.

Danny Sullivan pens a detailed post on the introduction of the “Don’t Be Evil” tool, backed by Facebook and Twitter, at Search Engine Land.

At Search Engine Watch, Miranda Miller explains the intent of the “Don’t Be Evil” tool:  “…to call Google on the carpet over the preferential treatment given their own Google+ posts and pages in organic search results.”

David Angotti discusses Google’s new user account registration requirements in “Google+: Growth by Brute Force,” at Search Engine Journal.

TheNextWeb reports that Google is now allowing users to start conversations directly from its search results.

Matt McGee posts his in-depth interview with a “Google Search Quality Rater” at Search Engine Land.

A.J. Kohn posts “The Ultimate Guide to Google+ SEO” (covering “every aspect and angle of Google+ and how it impacts search”) at Blind Five Year Old.

Brian Whalley shares “Five Google+ Tricks to Dominate Google Search Results” at HubSpot.

TechCrunch discusses Google’s new privacy policy in its ongoing war with Apple, Facebook and Twitter with “Google Stockpiles Data Ammo Through Privacy Merge, Guns To Win Relevancy War.”

Danny Sullivan submits a proposal for a social network détente (specifically Google, Facebook, and Twitter) at Search Engine Land.

At Search Engine Roundtable, Barry Schwartz reports on Google’s new page layout algorithm change that could penalize and downgrade sites that are “top heavy” with excessive ads above the fold.

Will Reynolds posts the interesting “Never Worry About an Algorithm Update Again, a History” at SEOmoz.

Aaron Doades discusses “Understanding Keywords in Search Retargeting” at Search Engine Land.

Bill Slawski posts the insightful “Google’s Query-Based Analysis and Reranking of Search Results” at SEO by the Sea.

Ian Lurie shares an updated version of his Google Analytics tutorial (Install) at Conversation Marketing.

Kristi Hines posts an excellent how-to on getting “actionable data” out of Google Analytics at KISSmetrics.

Rand Fishkin posts his answers to “43 (Twitter-solicited) questions about search, social, content, conversions and more” at SEOmoz.

Tim Ash continues his ClickZ blog series on fixing your website with “Step 3: Determining What to Test.”

Neil Patel discusses the importance of website design for SEO with “How to Design Your Blog for Awesome SEO” at QuickSprout.

Social Media Marketing

Facebook’s integration of 60 apps with its Timeline headlines Social Media Examiner’s weekly news.

Another perspective on the Facebook apps roll-out is posted at SEOHacker, with “Facebook is blurting out your private information.”

Lance Ulanoff questions the timing of Facebook’s apps launch (“Facebook Timeline-ageddon: Why Now?”) at Mashable.

Maya Grinberg discusses what marketers need to know about Facebook’s Timeline at Social Media Examiner.

Lee Odden posts “11 ways to get smarter and stay current in a world of social information overload” at Top Rank.

Lauren Schaefer lauds the benefits of Pinterest, the hot new social-sharing (“virtual pinboard”) platform, at {grow}.

According to stats and data from Hitwise and comScore, Pinterest “is growing like gangbusters,” at Marketing Land.

Citing survey findings from Borell Associates, Matt McGee expresses relief that small businesses are measuring social success “the right way” (with new customers) at Small Business Search Marketing.

Mark Burgess discusses the strengths of Google+ for small businesses at Blue Focus Marketing.

J.R. Pittman shares her epiphany about what “build your brand story” actually means at Level343.

Ekaterina Walter (guest) posts “Brand-Jacking: Social disaster or the highest form of flattery?” at Brian Solis’ blog.

Jeff Bullas shares his top 10 social media posts from 2011 at his blog.

MarketingProfs shares five ways to boost B2B fan engagement on Facebook.

Sexy Social Media recommends five tools for enhancing your Twitter experience.

Seth Godin discusses icky mercenary and obligatory social sharing with “Trading favors.”

Ashley Zeckman shares four tips for “avoiding the social media time suck” at Top Rank.

Finally, Brian Solis posts “Looking Beyond 2012: Trends for Leading Transformation.”

photo credit: Jachin Sheehy

SEO Content Marketing Roundup, Week Ending January 18th, 2012

Politics literally darken the internet in this week’s latest and greatest Web-writing news, as the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) legislation has provoked industry backlash and a worldwide protest by site owners – including heavies like Wikipedia and Reddit – in the way of website “blackouts.” (They are occuring today, in fact, for 12 hours).  Even Google has made a statement of protest on its home page by blacking out its logo.

Meanwhile, the social media and SEO/search community continue to grapple with Google+ and Google Search Plus Your World, while content marketers focus on video and business blogging. But first, here’s…

The Scoop on the SOPA Saga

Since SOPA has all the industry buzzing up the web, you might want to check out some of these select posts explaining what it is, why it’s widely perceived as bad for internet marketers and online businesses, the politics, and more:

What exactly SOPA is and why it is dangerous are explained in great detail in an editorial opinion penned by Chris Heald of Mashable.

Alex Fitzpatrick gives the background of SOPA legislation (and that of its sister/predecessor, PIPA – the Protect IP Act) and where they stand now, also at Mashable.

Greg Finn reports that Google will join the anti-SOPA protest by linking to anti-SOPA information on its homepage at Search Engine Land.

Matt McGee describes how to black out your own website in protest of SOPA – without hurting your SEO – at Search Engine Land.

Greg Finn looks at the #blackoutSOPA social media movement (“that helped stall the SOPA legislation”) at Marketing Land.

For the latest news on SOPA, see Matt Brian’s “What SOPA means around the world – literally” at The Next Web (Shareables).

Content Marketing

The top 10 marketing trends of 2012 are shared by Jeff Bullas at his blog.

Mike Sweeney posts 12 questions that should guide your content marketing plan at Marketing Trenches.

PR Web lists 19 (press release) content marketing resolutions garnered from its top 2011 tips.

Michael Kolowich discusses how content marketers can reinvent the webinar for 2012 at Content Marketing Institute.

Lee Odden discusses building your blog traffic with curated resources and lists at Top Rank.

Rand Fishkin shares 21 tactics to increase your blog traffic (updated from 2007) at SEOmoz.

Heidi Cohen lists 31 ways to make your blog stand out.

Hobo Web talks up Ifttt, a free tool that automatically posts your blog to the big three social sharing platforms (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook).

Pamela Vaughan discusses seven “fatal business blogging mistakes (and easy fixes)” at HubSpot.

Jeff Bullas shares 18 “key observations about the state of blogging in 2011.”

Citing comScore’s December 2011 U.S. online video rankings, TechCrunch reports that Facebook has “slipped.”

Sherice Jacob discusses product videos and conversion rates at KISSmetrics.

Jakob Nielsen discusses “thinking aloud” as the #1 usability tool – for some 19 years now – at his Alertbox site.

SEO & Search

Gabriella Sannino and the Level 343 team share their own 2012 predictions with the sharp and witty “2012 Is the End of the Beginning: SEO, Social, Search, Copywriting Et All.”

Citing comScore’s newly released data, Miranda Miller reports that Google dominates global paid search (as the 2011 holiday online shopping numbers set new records) at Search Engine Watch.

Eric Enge talks “Mobile SEO Tips and Tricks” with Cindy Krum at Stone Temple (Consulting).

Ugly baby? Lyena Solomon discusses the necessity of planning  your website redesign at Netsprinter.

David Harry discusses the hidden (glass half full) value of Google’s encrypted (“not provided”) data for SEO analytics at Search News Central.

Byrne Hobart discusses the changing landscape of SERP rankings with “Rich Snippets: Learning To Love Not Being #1” at Search Engine Land.

Mat Bennett shares seven alternatives to Google Analytics at Search Engine Journal.

Danny Sullivan breaks down the whole Google Search Plus Your World thing in a clear and comprehensive post at Marketing Land.

Lee Odden weighs in on what Google’s personalized search means for marketing with an in-depth post at Top Rank.

Eric Ward discusses linking strategies for Google Search Plus Your World at Search Engine Land.

At Search Engine Watch, Miranda Miller posts “Rank for Anything You Want on Google Search Plus Your World,” noting the ranking weight of Google+ “Circles” in search results.

In a similar vein, Danny Sullivan notes that Google is favoring itself with Google+ in its (Search Plus Your World) vertical search at Search Engine Land.

Noting the changes wrought by Panda and the rise of social signals, Eric Enge pens “The End of Link Building as We’ve Known and Loved it” at Search Engine Watch.

Neil Patel discusses seven “Panda-punishing” content mistakes at Search Engine Journal.

Kristi Hines addresses click-throughs vs. SEO with “Meta Description Magic” at KISSmetrics.

Think with Google posts an overview of HTML 5.

Social Media Marketing

“Google Search Adds Google Plus” headlines Social Media Examiner’s weekly news.

Reflecting the sentiment of many in the industry, Arnie Kuenn posts “Google’s Search Plus Your World? – Not in My World!” at Vertical Measures.

A review of Chris Brogan’s new book, Google+ for Biz: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything, is at Top Rank.

Brafton News reports that social media and content marketing are the top priorities for 70-percent of marketers surveyed for Awareness Inc.’s report on the State of Social Media Marketing in 2012.

Mack Collier shares how much social media will cost companies in 2012 at his blog.

Gabe Donnini discusses measuring the value and success of targeted social media marketing campaigns at Marketing Land.

AllThingsD reports that Facebook’s IPO should come in late May, and that its Open Graph apps are coming this Wednesday (as in today,1/18).

TechCrunch posts some key social media trends to look for in 2012.

Haydn Shaughnessy discusses the key behaviors of top social media influencers at Forbes.

The Next Web reports that Twitter is adding 11 new accounts per second, and could surpass 500 million accounts by February.

Mashable posts an infographic of HootSuite’s new milestones: 3 million users and 700 million sent messages over three years.

Brian Solis posts “Digital Trends: Strategies for Reaching and Influencing Connected Consumers” at his blog.

So what motivates readers to share? Dan Zarrella tackles the question at Problogger.

What Stephen Hawking can teach you about social media marketing strategy is posted at Marketo.

Lisa Buyer posts a how-to on creating a social media editorial calendar at Search Engine Watch.

photo credit to cometstarmoon

So What “About Us?” How to Awaken This Top-Converting Sleeper Page

Welcome back!  Question for you:  Did you know that your “About Us” page is a sleeper page waiting to be awakened and optimized for conversions? Or even that it is a heavily-visited page that sparks conversions?  Today Heather addresses how to write a conversions-driving “About Us” page in her ongoing video series on writing a killer website, citing a case study as well as sharing her own expertise.

In her previous “how-to” video posts on writing a profitable website, Heather addressed how to write a killer home page, a sales-driving e-commerce products page, and a conversion-driving services page.  While these pages are obviously directly tied to profitability, there remains the un-sung hero of website conversions:  enter the often-overlooked, usually boring, yet highly-trafficked and (potentially) conversions-generating About Us page!

1.  So What “About Us” – Check Your Analytics

So what about the “About Us” page and why should you care?  Check your analytics:  you may well find that they are pivotal to the conversions process.  In fact, you may find that the “About Us” page is one of your top-trafficked pages.

Why?  Because when people are looking at your company and determining whether or not they want to buy your product or contact you for more information, they want to know:

Does this company really have the expertise that I think they have?  Or the product that I really want?

If you’ve convinced them that indeed you do with a well-written “About Us” page, then via analytics, you clearly will see the prospect “convert” to other pages of your site.  So think of your “About Us” page as a conversions nexus — because it is!

2. Typical “About Us” Pages Are Boring – You Can Fix That

Yes, you want to demonstrate your expertise, but consider breaking away from “corporate-speak” and trying something different.  We’re all guilty of this, just spitting out the usual stuff we’d submit for a bio, and talking up our awards and the recognition we’ve garnered, and that’s okay.

But!  Knowing that your “About Us” page is critical for conversions and traffic, why not consider mixing it up a bit, as evidenced by this…

3. WordStream Blog Case Study – How Changing the “About Us” Page Raised Conversion Rates by 13%

Yes, 13-percent!  How did this happen?

In the WordStream case study, the top part of the “About Us” page was very formal, and representative of what you usually expect to see on a website’s “About Us” page.

However, the bottom half of the “About Us” page was dramatically different, speaking to the reader with powerful and personalized copy such as:  “Perfectionist Workaholics”;  “Passionate Linguistics”; and “Personable Personnel.”  This copy packs a conversions punch – it’s interesting, catchy, and grabs the readers’ attention.

So, the reader thinks, “Wow!”  It’s more than just another corporation honoring itself:  Suddenly, the “About Us” page has personality.

4.  Additional Thoughts & Take-Aways for the About Us Page

  • Your “About Us” page can have a very personable tone and feel, especially if YOU are the BRAND:  no matter your specific niche, if you’re at a place where folks know you, then you can play up your personality.
  • But DO showcase your expertise: The sad thing is that so many folks don’t do this, and stick to the most general and banal “facts” about them. The “About Us” page is a great opportunity for you to shine:  think of all the cool things you’ve done and tie them back directly to your target audience, specifically addressing what your expertise means to them and what is in it for them.
  • Consider A/B testing: If you’re worried about changing up that staid corporate tone and feel for something different and refreshing, consider doing an A/B test to see what happens by directing folks to an alternative “About Us” page with a completely divergent tone and feel.  Then see what happens to your conversion rates.
  • Badges are great: If you’re part of a recognized organization, have won awards, or have been/are a speaker at a conference, definitely include these credibility sources in your “About Us” narrative.
  • Consider adding video: If you are THE Brand and want to really distinguish yourself, consider adding video to your content, but be sure your supporting copy is exceptional!

Glad you joined us for this peek under the hood of conversions-driving web copywriting!  Be sure to check in next time, when Heather will discuss the second un-sung hero of conversions-driving web copy:  FAQ pages.  See you then!