One of the nicest things for an Internet Marketer like me is that – even though the Internet never goes on vacation – at least your client yes.
So, when clients are on holidays – hence not calling you every two days and you don’t have to write down reports every now and then – things get quieter and you can concentrate 100% on shipping things and even being able to read more.
And August (and the first week of September) was a month rich of really interesting reads in all the fields of Web Marketing.
These quieter moments in our frenzy daily schedule are also occasion for reflecting about your own profession and reconsidering what you have until that moment, if you did it right, wrong or “regular”, and understanding if you need to change and how.
Since a long time now, I tend to consider myself a strategist by nature (I am using the definitions shared by John Doherty in his post on Medium), even though circumstances of life oblige me being a creator or even a manager in my profession.
And since a long time (check the date of this post of mine on Moz), I firmly believe that, despite of the necessary specialization our industry pretends, a good marketer should be able to know the most he can of all the disciplines.
This is something that Rand Fishkin explained very well in this post about the “T-Shaped” marketer in his personal blog.
Be aware that “T-Shaped” marketer is not a synonym of “Jack of all Trades, Master of Nothing”. T-Shaped marketers are those who, even if they are excelling in one or two specific fields, are able to understand, cooperate with and offering new ideas to specialists in other disciplines.
This prey for a wider view and a no-endogamic vision of SEO also was at the center of my post The Arrogance of SEOs, which caused some strong reaction by part of our community.
Surely one skill to learn is how to deal with clients, a topic that, maybe, should be treated more and deeper, even if it means dealing with sometimes absurd NDA contracts.
Three interesting posts about Marketers-Clients relationships have been published in these last 30 days.
The first one is Managing your clients; This is how we roll, DistilledLive video on Distilled, where Stephanie Coles and Amanda Marquez very transparently share how they manage client’s expectations during the sales process:
Along the path of this video is this post by Benjamin Estes on Moz.
But not everybody has to deal with big clients as Distilled, even though the psychology of clients tends to be almost the same independently of their business size.
If you are dealing with small budget clients, then I suggest you to read this post that Alex Moss published on Search Engine Watch.
What come out clearly are how many facets the work of SEO has right now. Seriously, we should be all “T-Shaped” Marketers or, if you prefer, we should assume that we are all Inbound Marketers, as Seth Godin said at Inbound 13.
And another clear thing is that strategy is even more important now than ever, exactly because of the complexity of Internet Marketing.
Any good Planner or Strategist worth their salt can look at a complex problem, go away for a month, dig up some insights, and craft a compelling argument around why we should build a certain set of tactics to solve it. But that’s a fantasy.” (Dave Gillis cited on Killing Big Strategy).
As I wrote before, I am a strategist by nature, and tend to work more as a strategic consultant lately, hence that post by Eric Portelance really grabbed my attention and opened my eyes: how many mistakes I was doing. Read it, please: if you’re a strategist your clients will thank you.
August offered great posts also in the other Internet Marketing categories.
If you are one of those patient people, who like to read my posts, you know already that I tend to write long forms. Beside the fact that it is not always so, but – yes! – I love long form because they allow me to explain better what usually is an intuition. I start from that sort of “illuminating moment” and I dig and dissect the reason why I consider it valid.
But there’s another more tangible reason why I tend to write long forms: they work.
Don’t you believe me? Then read this post – This is what happens when publishers invest in long stories – a post that was published last May, but that had a second life on Twitter this August.
Long Forms, then, are those kind of content that Google seems to prefer showing in one of its latest blends: In-Depth Articles. And if you want to seriously start working for taking advantage of that new blend, then read this post by Demian Farnworth on Copyblogger.
Instead, if you are one of those SEOs who have to deal with industries you don’t know an heck about, then you will like the suggestions Jason Acidre offers in this post: Creating content on industries you’re not an expert in.
Writing is not the only way of creating content. Content can be interactive too and – if you think it well – all the excitement we had about the Internet back in the 90s was that it made us able to interact with things and information. So, why not using that natural engaging excitement? Nick Bernard explains how in this post on Portent.
Whatever form you decide to use for your content, a common denominator is that with it you ultimately should be able to narrate a story. Storytelling (about which I wrote this post on Moz) is a powerful way of creating bonds between a brand and its users.
Storytelling, though, is not that easy as someone paints it, especially in not “sexy” industries. But if you follow the five steps described by Dominic Quigley, then you will be able to make even the coldest data the plot of a story worth to be shared.
Not all content marketing initiatives are a success, as any of us could testify. But from failures we can learn, as well explained by Adria Saracino at Searchlove San Diego:
A classic tool used by SEOs when it comes to find content ideas is Übersuggest. Well, the guys at Virante have created a Chrome extension that makes Übersuggest “überest”, as it integrates keyword data with the tool, Google SERPs and GrepWords. Amazing, isn’t it?
But no tool is enough without a thinking brain using it. Because it’s a thinking brain that is able to discover the weird and useful, add up consistency and so becoming significant for the users:
Content marketing well done is not easy, but if it well done then another damned hard discipline – link building – gets easier (and funnier to do).
Content Marketing is the best ally of Link Building, but also the contrary it’s damned true. Don’t.Forget.to.build.links.to.your.Content.Marketing, as Matt Gratt says in his post in the BuzzStream Blog.
The Matt’s post references to this Whiteboard Friday by Rand Fishkin – SEO’s dilemma: Link Building vs. Content Marketing – that is worth a (second) view:
In the video Rand distinguishes between Link Building and Content Marketing “Earning Links”, but that should not confuse you, and I explain you why:
If you think at Link Building as the classic KW centric based content creation, then I must agree with Rand: that link building works, but possibly is not the one that can offer you better long term results. You will rank, you will have tons of traffic, but will it be ultimately qualified traffic? Maybe it is not.
If you are looking for customer acquisition, brand positioning and conversions, then Content Marketing should be Audience centered.
The first is not excluding the second, and vice versa. You can use the one fits better to your metrics, but the second – which is harder – has more probabilities to bring those natural links many people still think is a sort of mythical Grail.
Whatever path (keyword or audience based) you choose, what is necessary is doing outreach for when you have to promote the content you have created.
Twitter surely is a great ally in that aspect of the link builders job, and I am sure they – but not just them – will appreciate the ultimate guide to targeting Twitter users and connecting with influencers, which has been published by Kissmetrics.
And now that we are talking about outreach, it is impossible not citing two posts about it, which are simply outstanding:
1) Essential Tools for Outreach Experts (2013 Update), published on siegemedia, not only is an incredible resource, but also a very good example of how to refresh great content for doing link building;
2) Mining User Data in Excel with the FullContact API by John-Henry Scherck on SEOGadget explains how data mining from email listings can offer tons of opportunities to a link builder.
Most of the time, though, the success of a content marketing idea depends a lot on its timing. In fact, a great idea executed too early or too late can result in deep frustrations. A good example of perfect timing is news jacking.
I am sure many of you knows this case, but what Barrie Moran (with the help of Lyndon Antcliff) was able to do taking advantage of the “Bong Bongo” case is too good to not be cited one more time.
Ok, I gave you reasons for reflecting about the evolving nature of link building, tools (you love tools, don’t you?) and a case history, but I want to end this section dedicated to Link Building with a post Julie Joyce wrote for Search Engine Land: 50+ More Things Every Link Builder Should Now.
Julie surely is one of the best link builders I know, hence every thing she suggests is gold and, being this a curated content post, check her suggestion #5 about how to curate content well. Personally I wonder if Julie would save my Best in Search column; I hope so.
Links, bad toxic crappy links (the ones you don’t build, right?), lead to a great excitement followed by a long depression period.
Google since few weeks is showing in GWT if a site suffers from manual penalization, and those alerts usually are complemented with a description of the (main) reason of the penalization.
This YouMoz post by Marie Haynes dissects all the possible messages, which are based on the Google Quality Guidelines. It’s a long form with videos included, but surely worth to be read (and watched).
Another classic topic related to penalizations is how to do a successful reconsideration request, which is not so easy. Luckily Marcela De Vivo wrote a post about it, which has be once again published on YouMoz, the user generated (but editorially edited) Moz and less known blog.
Link profile cleansing hopefully is not the most important SEO task. If what so… well, seriously I would start thinking in changing profession.
No, SEO most of the time is all about understanding how Search works and, so, being able to combine the marketing needs of your clients with the always evolving technical side of Search (and not simply “of Search Engines”).
Mobile surely is an aspect of Search that has become essential, and it will be even more so in the incoming months/years.
For that reason is important being always on the news for everything related mobile search. For this reason – and if you missed this news – I report here the link to the Mobile Analysis in PageSpeed Insights, which has been updated by Google few weeks ago.
Or this news that Google skip redirect to hand rel-alternate-media annotations for mobile.
Another emerging topic in SEO is International SEO. Well, maybe not for us European, but globally it is rising and more and more SEOs have started dealing with SEO in countries and/or languages different than their own.
For all of them, but also for more experienced International SEO practitioners, I share the huge list of tools (40+) our own SOS blogger Aleyda presented in this Moz post.
And if we talk about recurring topics, we can’t forget Authorships – Google published an exhaustive FAQ about it – and Google+, topic that has been at the center of one of the most talked about post of August, this one by Cyrus Shepard.
But, if we talk about Google and the future of Search, the most impacting news was the introduction of cards based on emails, Google Calendar and G+. A serious shift to totally implicit queries, which could represent a big player in personalized search.
And all this is SEO, an happy lively zombie that evolves endlessly.