Tag Archives: inboundmarketing

The gospel according to Blockchain, or is it the other way round?

The gospel according to Blockchain,
or is it the other way round?

Startup promises permissioned Blockchain-validated truth database

 

Analysis Startup Gospel Technology is evangelising the use of Blockchain to secure and verify shareable data.

Blockchain technology provides a way of doing this, claims Gospel, which says it's found a simpler way than any alternative methods. The early stage firm was founded in December last year by CEO Ian Smith, who was a co-founder, owner and CTO of Butterfly Software, a company IBM bought for an undisclosed amount in September 2012, for its data centre storage planning and migration tool software.

Smith, who was a storage transformation consultant at Dell before founding Butterfly, spent three years at IBM, finishing up as worldwide VP for flash and software-defined solutions. In May 2016, he became the owner and managing director of Kingwood Estate, an English vineyard making sparkling wines in the Thames Valley near Henley On Thames. The idea behind Gospel Technology is that a business has information chains with its suppliers, contracting agencies, partners, customers, regulatory authorities and so forth.

If it supplies information to other businesses then it has no control, except maybe contractual, over what that business does with it. An HR department could send hundreds and thousands of employee names to a travel agency which arranges business travel and that agency could send some or all if it to airlines who could do the same. As soon as the information leaves the originator’s premises, then, in today’s internet-connected world, there is effectively no control over its privacy, security, validity and correctness. This is where the firm claims Blockchain can provide the validity and correctness – and its product can the security and privacy.

Gospel Tech claims it’s is “pioneering the use of this immutable [Blockchain] record system to fully automate 'trust' into the interconnected global systems of the forward-thinking enterprise.” It is building an Enterprise Trust Fabric built on the Linux HyperLedger which features record immutability, cryptographic provenance and decentralised consensus. Gospel says it has enhanced the blockchain technology to enable it to operate with the stability and scalability essential to large enterprise businesses that operate in cloud-like environments. It enables the privacy, security, control and validity of a centralised system in a decentralised environment, it says.

Gospel claims its fabric offers:

  • A clear and transparent world state of data assets and key trust indicators within the ledger,
  • Real Time identification of abnormal behaviour and data breaches,
  • An immutable history of key trust indicators,
  • Scheduled erasure policies based on absolute expiry dates within the ledger.

Overall target use cases are business exchanging any kind of digital information that needs to be trusted and private, and the Internet of Things. Smith wrote an introductory article about the firm on LinkedIn in January, in which he said the “Enterprise Trust Fabric is based on a private, permissioned blockchain that has been engineered and enhanced by Gospel technology to deliver a platform that rethinks trust and confidence in a world that is essentially perimeterless and trustless.” We might expect more news from the firm later this year.

What is a blockchain?

As we generally understand it – meaning blockchain experts, be gentle – a block chain is a distributed database (digital ledger) holding a chain of data blocks in which the first block is composed of its data contents plus a prefix which is a hash of the data in the block. The next block in the chain has a data hash prefix which is a hash of the entire preceding block, and so on through the chain. It is a hashchain within a hashchain. Any data added to the chain of linked data blocks is appended. Nothing is deleted or over-written or has data inserted between existing data items. Data is immutable, which is great where that absolutely needs to be the case, and the blockchain can represent a proof of work.

In Bitcoin, a monetary transaction happens once and is spread throughout the database and its users in real time. A unit of the cryptocurrency, once spent, is spent and cannot be spent again. The acknowledgement of a bitcoin transaction between users is faster than the acknowledgement of cash transactions between bank users with cheques and simpler than digital transactions between banks. Bitcoin can disintermediate banks from financial transactions between users.

The verifiability and trust of blockchain transactions happens because parties involved compute the blockchain; each having a copy of the blockchain. Everyone thus verifies and audits transactions. Gospel reckons that in private sharing environments, less system overhead is needed to reach consensus because it can rely on fewer nodes being needed to arrive at a believable consensus. Reading and writing data to a blockchain database is CPU-intensive and network intensive and becomes more so as blockchains get longer and larger in number and users.

What is a hash?

In Blockchain a hash is a cryptographic number function which is a result of running a mathematical algorithm against the string of data in a block and results in a number which is entirely dependent on the block contents. What this means is that if you encounter a block in a chain of blocks and want to read its contents you can’t do it unless you can read the preceding block’s contents because these create the starting data hash (prefix) of the block you are interested in.

And you can’t read that preceding block in the chain unless you can read its preceding block as its starting data item is a hash of its preceding block and so on down the chain. It’s a practical impossibility to break into a blockchain and read and then do whatever you want with the data unless you are an authorised reader. A blockchain database is thus organised quite differently from a relational database.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Tips For Developing Your Business

What is Business Development?

Five Tips For Developing Your Business

 

1. Introduction

I’ve got a bit of bad news for you. The term “business development” is undefined. This lack of a definition helps to explain why one can apply for a job in business development and end up in a pure sales job, and why others think of “business development” as somewhere between sales and marketing. Despite this lack of definition, Googling the term returns 456 million results. Including the word “lawyer” only knocks the number of results down to 49 million. Among these results are websites with tips, checklists, and even entire books on the subject. All for a phrase with no definition.

I think we can do better than “undefined,” especially if this article is going to be useful to anyone. I therefore, propose the following definition, based on what I thought the term meant the first time I heard it:

[1]Business development encompasses all activities a company [2]takes to maintain or expand its customer base and ultimately sell its product or services to those customers.

[For the purposes of this definition, the word “company” includes all forms of business (think sole proprietorships and non-profit organizations); “customers” includes “clients;” and “sell” is construed very broadly with reference to non-profit organizations, as their end goal is some form of charitable giving rather than an exchange of goods for money.]Under this definition, “business development” becomes an umbrella term, with at least the following functions falling under the umbrella: 

  • Marketing: the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service.
  • Advertising: marketing communications used to encourage or persuade an audience to take or continue to take some action.
  • Sales: the exchange of goods, property, or services for an agreed sum of money or credit.
  • Networking: to cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally, especially in finding employment or moving to a higher position
  • Some Customer Service Functions: especially where the customer service agent attempts to resell or up-sell a product or thanks you for shopping with their company.
  • Research and Development: where the company’s products require continued upgrades in order for the business to stay competitive.

2. The Myth 

Conventional wisdom suggests that successful entrepreneurs are the ultimate “one-man show,” skillfully handling every aspect of their business with the kind of competence that comes from years of training. But wait – that’s a bit of a list…and each item on the list has its own skill set…and the list doesn’t even mention the management and financial aspects of running a business…

Fortunately, this is one of those times where conventional wisdom is wrong. Our fictional works often tell the story of a person who overcame great odds to become successful on his own, but real-life success stories often involve a hero whose mentor does not die at the end of Act 2.[3][4] Here, YOU’RE the hero, trying to move your company from one phone call per week to “I need help answering the phone,” and there’s nothing that says you have to do it alone. So, what can you do? 

3. The Ideal

Graduate-level programs that taught students business skills first appeared in the early 20TH century.[5] Since that time, there have been a number of changes to these programs, and schools have even introduced undergraduate-level business programs. These programs generally require the student to take a core of general classes (management, finance, accounting, etc.) in addition to a group of specialized classes in an area of their choosing. For the purposes of the business development skills listed above, marketing is the clear winner.

Why marketing? Remember, the definition we are using for “business development” is comprised of two main tasks: (1) increasing the size of your audience, or the number of people looking to obtain legal advice from you, and (2) getting as many of these people to utilize your services as possible. The skills learned in marketing program directly relate to task (1), thus giving you the best opportunity to learn how to increase the size of your audience.

Given a choice between learning these skills on the undergraduate level and the graduate level, I would personally opt for undergraduate if I knew that my only reason for going to school was to improve my company’s opportunities.  Undergraduate classes are cheaper. I would not have to study for, and then take the GMAT, just to get into school. And most importantly, there may not be a significant difference between the materials covered on the undergraduate and graduate levels (at least there wasn’t when I was an undergrad) to justify the time and expense associated with a graduate degree. However, graduate classes are generally smaller and have more students who are willing to participate. This benefit alone may make a graduate program a better option for some. Therefore, I’d suggest contacting colleges and asking about these factors before making decisions regarding your education.

4. The Reality

School only provides a foundation. What one learns in actual practice – “the real world” – is often quite different from what one learns in school. The difference usually stems from the fact that theory often starts with perfect conditions and rational actors. Real life rarely presents us with perfect conditions, and sometimes people just aren’t that rational. Therefore, direct experience is vitally important if you wish to translate business education into your company’s bottom line.

One of the many ways to gain marketing and advertising experience is through event planning. In my last piece, I talked about how planning events can assist your networking efforts. This strategy only works if you can get people to show up to your event – which means that event planning is a great way to gain marketing and advertising experience that you can later use in your company. In the school setting, the student activities staff can be of immense help: letting you know what to expect, giving you information about past successful events, and even helping you to pick the right rooms. Outside of school, you may wish to speak with people and organizations that plan events (and even offer to help) in an effort to gain this same kind of experience.

Unlike advertising and marketing, sales and networking don’t have three-month classes devoted to gaining expertise in these areas. Learning to be an effective networker or salesperson is often a matter of trial and error, supplemented by books on sales techniques and overcoming objections. There are only a limited number of ways to ask for a sale or a business card, after all. As a result, the best possible option is to take on a job in sales for a limited amount of time – if you can be sure that the company in question will train you. If you can find such a person, they can help you learn what techniques work best for you, and what types of clients might be most amenable to you and your style.[6]

5. The Problem 

The problem with this particular course of action is, again, time. The “ideal” path involves two or three years of classes, at least a year of sales experience, and time to meet the “right” people and have them show you how to speak with people, put together events, and sell products to people. In the interest of full disclosure, I actually engaged in all of these activities – before I became a lawyer – all in the ten-year span from my undergraduate graduation in February of 2004 to my admission to the New York Bar in February of 2014.

Coincidentally,[7] Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers popularized the idea that any person can become an expert at something if they practice that thing for 10,000 hours or ten years. Taking the time to engage in all these activities might work for an undergraduate, but it certainly works less well for someone who’s been practicing law on their own for any amount of time. Once your career gets going, you may simply have enough time to go back and pick up such a wide array of skills while trying to maintain your business.

To make matters worse, Mr. Gladwell’s work is often misquoted. Outliers actually state that a person with a talent for a thing can become an expert after ten years of practice. Imagine spending all of that time and effort to become an expert in all of the different business development skills only to find out that you’re not good at any of them. This would be a monumental waste.

6. The Solution 

Fortunately, getting help to learn skills is not the only option available to you. You can also contract work out to others who are better at or better equipped to handle tasks than you are. In fact, most businesses can contract out nearly all of their functions other than management. This arrangement might not work as well for a law office, once one takes ethical rules into account, however. With respect to business development in a law office setting, here’s what I suggest:

  1. Know Your Strengths: This heading is based off of Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham. This book and its predecessor First, Break All The Rules discuss job satisfaction in terms of whether a person is doing the things that they are best at. In short, the theory is that one’s greatest chance for job satisfaction is if they spend their time engaged in things they do well. StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a tool Gallup developed based on the studies that comprise the heart of these books to help people determine what they are best at, thus leading to the best possible jobs. I would first suggest reading the book and taking the assessment test to see which of the business development skills might naturally fit in with your strengths.
  2. Nurture Your Strengths: Rather than dealing with an entire MBA or BBA program, try to find specific classes on the elements of business development that you might be good at. You may be able to audit a class (that is, take it without getting school credits for it), and you may be able to find continuing education classes that fit the bill. During or after the class, you can also seek out an advisor who can give you tips or suggest good books to read. In the end, you still have to try your hand at your new skills to see what comes of your hard work.
  3. Hire Others With Complementary Strengths: Let’s say that you learn you’re no good at advertising, but you want to use an advertising campaign to grow your business. You’ll need to hire someone. That person might be an intern, a paralegal, an attorney, or an outside firm specifically hired to create an advertisement for your company.[8] In every case, you can’t contract out the management responsibility, so you are ultimately responsible for the look, feel, spelling, and message in your advertising. But the actual work of creating the ad, not being your forte, is not a task you should be engaged in.
  4. In Every Case, You Have to Learn Sales: Unlike every other skill (except maybe learning how to practice law), learning to sell is a step you must take, even if you’re not good at it. You might be able to ignore the skill if you have a partner who is a “rainmaker,” and doesn’t mind being the person who brings in the business and ultimately sells the clients on using your law firm rather than another. Unfortunately, we cannot predict the future – and there is no way of telling if a partnership will last. If it doesn’t, the partner who did not focus on his ability to sell prospective clients on their service will be at a great disadvantage if he tries to go it alone. So, try to get at least some experience in selling – cookies, flowers, something. You might not become the greatest salesman in the world, but at least you’ll have the experience.
  5. Be a Good Attorney: There are a number of oft-told marketing rules. One of these is that if people like what you’ve done for them they will tell three other people about you. If they don’t like what you’ve done, they’ll tell ten people about you. I don’t know where this rule comes from, but there is evidence to support the idea that negative feedback has a much stronger effect on us than positive feedback does.  And each of your prospective clients knows plenty of people they can tell you about. Treat one person bad, and that’s an entire network of people that may never seek you out for legal services. Treat them well, and although it may work slowly, keep up the good work and you may eventually benefit from the best marketing money can’t buy: word of mouth.

You may notice that where many articles say that you must engage in this or that activity (Facebook and Twitter pages stand out as examples) in order to attract clients to your business, I do not advocate any specific method of business development. My reason for this is that not everything works for everyone. Facebook and Twitter are essentially useless without constant updates. Networking works only if you keep in contact with people after you meet them and build relationships with those people. Even advertising can go horribly wrong. Rather, focusing your initial business development around those areas you already have some competence in and finding others to assist in areas that you are not, gives you the best chance effectively obtaining new clients.

7.  Conclusion

Understanding business development is important to the success of any business. Where that business is a small law firm, the attorneys in charge must be (at least) competent lawyers, decent managers, and fair salesmen. If these attorneys are looking to expand their business by increasing their client base, they should know what business development skills they might be good at and seek to improve those skills (along with their lawyering skills). They should then hire out for those skills they might not be good at, saving them time and money in the process. Even if they sell the same percentage of clients, improving their business development will increase the number of clients the company has. They also have a second option – improve their sales skills, which will result in a higher percentage of clients choosing to hire them as attorneys.

Using this formula, it is not necessary for the small office owner to become an expert at everything. Rather, the small office owner can increase his chances of financial success by being an expert at what he can and utilizing the help and mentorship of others where he cannot.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Valentus Specialty Chemicals

 

Valentus Specialty Chemicals

Acquires Wood Floor Finishes Business

 

Huron Capital Partners LLC has announced that its portfolio company, Valentus Specialty Chemicals, Inc., has acquired the wood floor finishes a business of New Rochelle, NY-based Paint Over Rust Products, Inc.  The wood floor finishes business will continue to operate as Absolute Coatings, Inc. This transaction represents the third acquisition for Valentus, an ExecFactor initiative launched by Huron Capital and coatings industry veterans Ray Chlodney, John Ragazzini and Bob Taylor.

A family-owned business founded in 1923, Absolute manufactures high-performance, environmentally-friendly wood floor finishes primarily under the ABSCO, Last-n-Last, and TREK-Plus brands. A leading manufacturer of waterborne coatings, Absolute adds technological expertise to the Valentus platform along with expanded distribution in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

As part of the transaction, David Sherman, CEO and owner of POR Products, will join Valentus’ Board of Directors. David Sherman will retain a significant ownership stake in Valentus and will remain actively involved in leading Absolute; no other staff changes are expected.

“We believe the partnership with Absolute will significantly enhance our growth trajectory,” said Ray Chlodney, CEO of Valentus. “ABSCO, Last-n-Last, and TREK-Plus are premium brands with differentiated technologies and excellent growth opportunities, and they’re a great complement to our existing portfolio of brands at National Paint Industries (NPI). We are eager to work with David as we seek to build on the legacy that he and his family have established in the marketplace.”

“I believe Valentus is the ideal partner to guide Absolute through its next phase of growth,” said Sherman. “Valentus is committed to preserving Absolute’s family of brands, and they are investing in resources that will strengthen our distribution, product innovation and ability to serve our customers.” 

“We believe Absolute is a phenomenal addition to Valentus’ portfolio, and we are fortunate to add David to Valentus’ dynamic leadership team,” said Mark Miller, Vice President at Huron Capital. “With three acquisitions in eight months, the Valentus buy-and-build model is progressing in line with our expectations. We will continue to work with our leadership team to identify and pursue strategic acquisitions as we seek to grow the Valentus platform.”

Valentus also owns National Paint Industries and Precision Technologies. These three acquisitions, Chlodney said, are poised to position Valentus as a leading provider of coatings technologies on a larger, national scale.

 
Chuck Reynolds

 

 

When Markethive discovered herself

From Social Networks to Market Networks

 

Markethive is a full suite “Inbound Marketing” platform integrated with a full scale “social network” targeting the 800 million “Entrepreneur” global populations. Like Facebook meets Pardot. This new revolution of the next wave of progressions is known as Market Networks, compared to the last wave of Social Networks. Even MarketHive’s name reflects this new revolution. Experts predict the “Market Network” will dwarf the “Social Network” market.

1. Founder (Thomas Prendergast): 40 years’ experience in Ad Agency and Marketing professional. Educated and developed technology awareness from 1982 – 1992 in the Silicon Valley. Visionary, skilled programmer, innovation 1sts, Stanford and UCSD Super Computer Center foundations and over 20 years building marketing innovation on the Internet.
 

2. Pardot, a full scale Inbound Marketing Platform (very similar to Markethive's platform) sold for $95 million to complete the ExactTarget platform in preparation to be sold to Sales Force for 2.5 billion Using these metrics it is easy to assign a value to Markethive of a minimum of $100 million. see story: www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/blog/atlantech/2013/06/atlantas-pardot-helped-drive.html
 

3. The experts (like Nir Eyal) and many bloggers (like Guerric de Ternay) are recognizing the new emerging systems called Market Networks.

  1. Market-networks are hybrid animals: part social network, part marketplace, part SaaS.
  2. It’s a social network. Professionals use profile pages to showcase their work and demonstrate their credibility. They also connect with each other and build relationships.
  3. It’s a marketplace. Professionals come online together to find other parties with whom they can do business.
  4. It’s a SaaS (Software as a System) tool. Professionals use the tools on the top of the marketplace to negotiate, do the job, or manage the paperwork.

4. Hooked: Systems that improve with age are the sought after prizes as they retain growth and are considered monopolies, not commodities. Markethive possesses this trait on 4 serious levels.

  1. Leads (called children) from the profile pages advance organically and improve with time
  2. Blog subscribe organically builds subscribers (automatically publishing) to top social networks
  3. Profile page improves with organic advancement in workshops, blogging and groups
  4. Increased reputation builds via blogs and profile page growth

5. Markethive is the indisputable full platform Market Network and has the distinct advantage of ready to launch and be "First to Market".

6. At least three patentable products; Blog Subscribe, Blog Swipe and 1Click Subscribe Widget

7. Projected funds of minimum $1 million with 20% to polish the system in preparation to officially launch and the remaining 80% to drive the marketing and crowd funding to record breaking status.

 

Summary:
see story: https://techcrunch.com/2015/06/27/from-social-to-market-networks/

Social Networks Were The Last 10 Years. Market Networks Will Be The Next 10.

First we had communication networks, like telephones and email. Then we had social networks, like Facebook and LinkedIn. Now we have market networks, like HoneyBook, AngelList, Houzz, DotLoop and Joist.

You can imagine a market network for every industry where professionals are not interchangeable: law, travel, real estate, media production, architecture, investment banking, personal finance, construction, management consulting and more. Each market network will have different attributes that make it work in each vertical, but the principles will remain the same.

Over time, nearly all independent professionals and their clients will conduct business through the market network of their industry. We’re just seeing the beginning of it now.

Market networks will have a massive positive impact on how millions of people work and live, and how hundreds of millions of people buy better services.

“Markethive has the ability to be an incubator (hive) to produce more strategic “Market Networks” as well”. 

 

Thomas Prendergast
Founder and CEO Markethive, Inc.

 

P.S.
The "Market Network" Illustrated
(Do you see Markethive?)

P.S.S.

Definition of Hive (Curious aint it?)

hive (hīv)

1. A place swarming with activity.

2. To work with many others in a close network.
3. a network showing signs of great industry
4. a teeming crowd; a network

The Basics of Search Engine Friendly Design & Development

The Basics of Search Engine Friendly Design & Development

 

Search engines are limited in how they crawl the web and interpret content. A webpage doesn't always look the same to you and me as it looks to a search engine. In this section, we'll focus on specific technical aspects of building (or modifying) web pages so they are structured for both search engines and human visitors alike. Share this part of the guide with your programmers, information architects, and designers, so that all parties involved in a site's construction are on the same page.

Indexable Content

To perform better in search engine listings, your most important content should be in HTML text format. Images, Flash files, Java applets, and other non-text content are often ignored or devalued by search engine crawlers, despite advances in crawling technology. The easiest way to ensure that the words and phrases you display to your visitors are visible to search engines is to place them in the HTML text on the page. However, more advanced methods are available for those who demand greater formatting or visual display styles:

1. Provide "alt" text for images. Assign images in "gif",jpg, or png format "alt attributes" in HTML to give search engines a text description of  the visual content.

2. Supplement search boxes with navigation and crawlable links.

3. Suppliment Flash or Java plug-ins with text on the page.

4. Providae a transcript for video and audio content if the words and phrases used araea meant to be indexed by the engines.

Seeing your site as the search engines do

Many websites have significant problems with indexable content, so double-checking is worthwhile. By using tools like Google's cache, SEO-browser.com, and the MozBar you can see what elements of your content are visible and indexable to the engines. Take a look at Google's text cache of this page you are reading now. See how different it looks?

 

 

"I have a problem with getting found. I built a huge Flash site for juggling pandas and I'm not showing up anywhere on Google. What's up?"

Whoa! That's what we look like?

Using the Google cache feature, we can see that to a search engine, JugglingPandas.com's homepage doesn't contain all the rich information that we see. This makes it difficult for search engines to interpret relevancy.

Axe Battling Monkeys Comparison

Hey, where did the fun go?

Uh oh … via Google cache, we can see that the page is a barren wasteland. There's not even text telling us that the page contains the Axe Battling Monkeys. The site is built entirely in Flash, but sadly, this means that search engines cannot index any of the text content, or even the links to the individual games. Without any HTML text, this page would have a very hard time ranking in search results.

It's wise to not only check for text content but to also use SEO tools to double-check that the pages you're building are visible to the engines. This applies to your images, and as we see below, to your links as well.

Crawlable Link Structures

Just as search engines need to see content in order to list pages in their massive keyword-based indexes, they also need to see links in order to find the content in the first place. A crawlable link structure—one that lets the crawlers browse the pathways of a website—is vital to them finding all of the pages on a website. Hundreds of thousands of sites make the critical mistake of structuring their navigation in ways that search engines cannot access, hindering their ability to get pages listed in the search engines' indexes.

Below, we've illustrated how this problem can happen:

Index Diagram

 

In the example above, Google's crawler has reached page A and sees links to pages B and E. However, even though C and D might be important pages on the site, the crawler has no way to reach them (or even know they exist). This is because no direct, crawlable links point pages C and D. As far as Google can see, they don't exist! Great content, good keyword targeting, and smart marketing won't make any difference if the crawlers can't reach your pages in the first place.

shepherdLink tags can contain images, text, or other objects, all of which provide a clickable area on the page that users can engage to move to another page. These links are the original navigational elements of the Internet – known as hyperlinks. In the above illustration, the "<a" tag indicates the start of a link. The link referral location tells the browser (and the search engines) where the link points. In this example, the URL http://www.jonwye.com is referenced. Next, the visible portion of the link for visitors, called anchor text in the SEO world, describes the page the link points to. The linked-to page is about custom belts made by Jon Wye, thus the anchor text "Jon Wye's Custom Designed Belts." The "</a>" tag closes the link to constrain the linked text between the tags and prevent the link from encompassing other elements on the page.
 
shepherd
 

Submission-required forms

If you require users to complete an online form before accessing certain content, chances are search engines will never see those protected pages. Forms can include a password-protected login or a full-blown survey. In either case, search crawlers generally will not attempt to submit forms, so any content or links that would be accessible via a form are invisible to the engines.

Links in unparseable JavaScript

If you use JavaScript for links, you may find that search engines either do not crawl or give very little weight to the links embedded within. Standard HTML links should replace JavaScript (or accompany it) on any page you'd like crawlers to crawl.

Links pointing to pages blocked by the Meta Robots tag or robots.txt

The Meta Robots tag and the robots.txt file both allow a site owner to restrict crawler access to a page. Just be warned that many a webmaster has unintentionally used these directives as an attempt to block access by rogue bots, only to discover that search engines cease their crawl.

Frames or iframes

Technically, links in both frames and iframes are crawlable, but both present structural issues for the engines in terms of organization and following. Unless you're an advanced user with a good technical understanding of how search engines index and follow links in frames, it's best to stay away from them.

Robots don't use search forms

Although this relates directly to the above warning on forms, it's such a common problem that it bears mentioning. Some webmasters believe if they place a search box on their site, then engines will be able to find everything that visitors search for. Unfortunately, crawlers don't perform searches to find content, leaving millions of pages inaccessible and doomed to anonymity until a crawled page links to them.

Links in Flash, Java, and other plug-ins

The links embedded inside the Juggling Panda site (from our above example) are perfect illustrations of this phenomenon. Although dozens of pandas are listed and linked to on the page, no crawler can reach them through the site's link structure, rendering them invisible to the engines and hidden from users' search queries.

Links on pages with many hundreds or thousands of links

Search engines will only crawl so many links on a given page. This restriction is necessary to cut down on spam and conserve rankings. Pages with hundreds of links on them are at risk of not getting all of those links crawled and indexed.If you avoid these pitfalls, you'll have clean, spiderable HTML links that will allow the spiders easy access to your content pages.

Links can have lots of attributes. The engines ignore nearly all of them, with the important exception of the rel="nofollow" attribute. In the example above, adding the rel="nofollow" attribute to the link tag tells the search engines that the site owners do not want this link to be interpreted as an endorsement of the target page.

Nofollow, taken literally, instructs search engines to not follow a link (although some do). The nofollow tag came about as a method to help stop automated blog comment, guest book, and link injection spam, but has morphed over time into a way of telling the engines to discount any link value that would ordinarily be passed. Links tagged with nofollow are interpreted slightly differently by each of the engines, but it is clear they do not pass as much weight as normal links.

Are nofollow links bad?

Although they don't pass as much value as their followed cousins, nofollowed links are a natural part of a diverse link profile. A website with lots of inbound links will accumulate many nofollowed links, and this isn't a bad thing. In fact, Moz's Ranking Factors showed that high ranking sites tended to have a higher percentage of inbound nofollow links than lower-ranking sites.

Google

Google states that in most cases</a>, they don&#39;t follow nofollow links, nor do these links transfer PageRank or anchor text values. Essentially, using nofollow causes Google to drop the target links from their overall graph of the web. Nofollow links carry no weight and are interpreted as HTML text (as though the link did not exist). That said, many webmasters believe that even a nofollow link from a high authority site, such as Wikipedia, could be interpreted as a sign of trust.

Bing and Yahoo

Bing, which powers Yahoo search results, has also stated that they do not include nofollow links in the link graph, though their crawlers may still use nofollow links as a way to discover new pages. So while they may <em>follow</em> the links, they don't use them in rankings calculations.

Keyword Usage and Targeting

Keywords are fundamental to the search process. They are the building blocks of language and of search. In fact, the entire science of information retrieval (including web-based search engines like Google) is based on keywords. As the engines crawl and index the contents of pages around the web, they keep track of those pages in keyword-based indexes rather than storing 25 billion web pages all in one database. Millions and millions of smaller databases, each centered on a particular keyword term or phrase, allow the engines to retrieve the data they need in a mere fraction of a second.

Obviously, if you want your page to have a chance of ranking in the search results for "dog," it's wise to make sure the word "dog" is part of the crawlable content of your document.

 
Keyword MapKeyword Domination

Keywords dominate how we communicate our search intent and interact with the engines. When we enter words to search for, the engine matches pages to retrieve based on the words we entered. The order of the words ("pandas juggling" vs. "juggling pandas"), spelling, punctuation, and capitalization provide additional information that the engines use to help retrieve the right pages and rank them.

Search engines measure how keywords are used on pages to help determine the relevance of a particular document to a query. One of the best ways to optimize a page's rankings is to ensure that the keywords you want to rank for are prominently used in titles, text, and metadata.

Generally speaking, as you make your keywords more specific, you narrow the competition for search results, and improve your chances of achieving a higher ranking. The map graphic to the left compares the relevance of the broad term "books" to the specific title Tale of Two Cities. Notice that while there are a lot of results for the broad term, there are considerably fewer results (and thus, less competition) for the specific result.

Keyword Abuse

Since the dawn of online search, folks have abused keywords in a misguided effort to manipulate the engines. This involves "stuffing" keywords into text, URLs, meta tags, and links. Unfortunately, this tactic almost always does more harm than good for your site.

In the early days, search engines relied on keyword usage as a prime relevancy signal, regardless of how the keywords were actually used. Today, although search engines still can't read and comprehend text as well as a human, the use of machine learning has allowed them to get closer to this ideal.

The best practice is to use your keywords naturally and strategically (more on this below). If your page targets the keyword phrase "Eiffel Tower" then you might naturally include content about the Eiffel Tower itself, the history of the tower, or even recommended Paris hotels. On the other hand, if you simply sprinkle the words "Eiffel Tower" onto a page with irrelevant content, such as a page about dog breeding, then your efforts to rank for "Eiffel Tower" will be a long, uphill battle. The point of using keywords is not to rank highly for all keywords, but to rank highly for the keywords that people are searching for when they want what your site provides.

On-Page Optimization

Keyword usage and targeting are still a part of the search engines' ranking algorithms, and we can apply some effective techniques for keyword usage to help create pages that are well-optimized. Here at Moz, we engage in a lot of testing and get to see a huge number of search results and shifts based on keyword usage tactics. When working with one of your own sites, this is the process we recommend. Use the keyword phrase:

  • In the title tag at least once. Try to keep the keyword phrase as close to the beginning of the title tag as possible. More detail on title tags follows later in this section.
  • Once prominently near the top of the page.
  • At least two or three times, including variations, in the body copy on the page. Perhaps a few more times if there's a lot of text content. You may find additional value in using the keyword or variations more than this, but in our experience adding more instances of a term or phrase tends to have little or no impact on rankings.
  • At least once in the alt attribute of an image on the page. This not only helps with web search, but also image search, which can occasionally bring valuable traffic.
  • Once in the URL. Additional rules for URLs and keywords are discussed later on in this section.
  • At least once in the meta description tag. Note that the meta description tag does not get used by the engines for rankings, but rather helps to attract clicks by searchers reading the results page, as the meta description becomes the snippet of text used by the search engines.

And you should generally not use keywords in link anchor text pointing to other pages on your site; this is known as Keyword Cannibalization.

Keyword Density Myth

Keyword density is not a part of modern ranking algorithms, as demonstrated by Dr. Edel Garcia in <a href="http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/Mar05/garcia.html">The Keyword Density of Non-Sense

If two documents, D1 and D2, consist of 1000 terms (l = 1000) and repeat a term 20 times (tf = 20), then a keyword density analyzer will tell you that for both documents Keyword Density (KD) KD = 20/1000 = 0.020 (or 2%) for that term. Identical values are obtained when tf = 10 and l = 500. Evidently, a keyword density analyzer does not establish which document is more relevant. A density analysis or keyword density ratio tells us nothing about:

1. The relative distance between keywords in documents (proximity)
2. Where in a document the terms occur (distribution)
3. The co-citation frequency between terms (co-occurance)
4. The main theme, topic, and sub-topics (on-topic issues) of the documents       

The Conclusion:

Keyword density is divorced from content, quality, semantics, and relevance. That should optimal page density look like then? You can read more information about On-Page Optimization in this post.

The title tag of any page appears at the top of Internet browsing software, and is often used as the title when your content is shared through social media or republished. 

Using keywords in the title tag means that search engines will bold those terms in the search results when a user has performed a query with those terms. This helps garner a greater visibility and a higher click-through rate.

 The final important reason to create descriptive, keyword-laden title tags is for ranking at the search engines. In Moz's biannual survey of SEO industry leaders, 94% of participants said that keyword use in the title tag was the most important place to use keywords to achieve high rankings.

Title Tags

The title element of a page is meant to be an accurate, concise description of a page's content. It is critical to both user experience and search engine optimization.

As title tags are such an important part of search engine optimization, the following best practices for title tag creation makes for terrific low-hanging SEO fruit. The recommendations below cover the critical steps to optimize title tags for search engines and for usability.

Be mindful of length

Search engines display only the first 65-75 characters of a title tag in the search results (after that, the engines show an ellipsis – "…" – to indicate when a title tag has been cut off). This is also the general limit allowed by most social media sites, so sticking to this limit is generally wise. However, if you're targeting multiple keywords (or an especially long keyword phrase), and having them in the title tag is essential to ranking, it may be advisable to go longer.

Place important keywords close to the front

The closer to the start of the title tag your keywords are, the more helpful they'll be for ranking, and the more likely a user will be to click them in the search results.

Include branding

At Moz, we love to end every title tag with a brand name mention, as these help to increase brand awareness, and create a higher click-through rate for people who like and are familiar with a brand. Sometimes it makes sense to place your brand at the beginning of the title tag, such as your homepage. Since words at the beginning of the title tag carry more weight, be mindful of what you are trying to rank for.

Consider readability and emotional impact

Title tags should be descriptive and readable. The title tag is a new visitor's first interaction with your brand and should convey the most positive impression possible. Creating a compelling title tag will help grab attention on the search results page, and attract more visitors to your site. This underscores that SEO is about not only optimization and strategic keyword usage, but the entire user experience.

Meta Tags

Meta tags were originally intended as a proxy for information about a website's content. Several of the basic meta tags are listed below, along with a description of their use.

Meta Robots

The Meta Robots tag can be used to control search engine crawler activity (for all of the major engines) on a per-page level. There are several ways to use Meta Robots to control how search engines treat a page:

  • index/noindex tells the engines whether the page should be crawled and kept in the engines' index for retrieval. If you opt to use "noindex," the page will be excluded from the index. By default, search engines assume they can index all pages, so using the "index" value is generally unnecessary.
  • follow/nofollow tells the engines whether links on the page should be crawled. If you elect to employ "nofollow," the engines will disregard the links on the page for discovery, ranking purposes, or both. By default, all pages are assumed to have the "follow" attribute.
    Example: <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW">
  • noarchive is used to restrict search engines from saving a cached copy of the page. By default, the engines will maintain visible copies of all pages they have indexed, accessible to searchers through the cached link in the search results.
  • nosnippet informs the engines that they should refrain from displaying a descriptive block of text next to the page's title and URL in the search results.
  • noodp/noydir are specialized tags telling the engines not to grab a descriptive snippet about a page from the Open Directory Project (DMOZ) or the Yahoo! Directory for display in the search results.

The X-Robots-Tag HTTP header directive also accomplishes these same objectives. This technique works especially well for content within non-HTML files, like images.

Meta Description

The meta description tag exists as a short description of a page's content. Search engines do not use the keywords or phrases in this tag for rankings, but meta descriptions are the primary source for the snippet of text displayed beneath a listing in the results.

The meta description tag serves the function of advertising copy, drawing readers to your site from the results. It is an extremely important part of search marketing. Crafting a readable, compelling description using important keywords (notice how Google bolds the searched keywords in the description) can draw a much higher click-through rate of searchers to your page.

Meta descriptions can be any length, but search engines generally will cut snippets longer than 160 characters, so it's generally wise to stay within in these limits.

In the absence of meta descriptions, search engines will create the search snippet from other elements of the page. For pages that target multiple keywords and topics, this is a perfectly valid tactic.

Not as important meta tags

Meta Keywords: The meta keywords tag had value at one time, but is no longer valuable or important to search engine optimization. For more on the history and a full account of why meta keywords has fallen into disuse, read Meta Keywords Tag 101 from SearchEngineLand.

Meta Refresh, Meta Revisit-after, Meta Content-type, and others: Although these tags can have uses for search engine optimization, they are less critical to the process, and so we'll leave it to Google's Search Console Help to discuss in greater detail.

Well, How do you like this offering?

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Why Search Engine Marketing is Necessary

Why Search Engine Marketing is Necessary

 

An important aspect of SEO is making your website easy for both users and search engine robots to understand. Although search engines have become increasingly sophisticated, they still can't see and understand a web page the same way a human can. SEO helps the engines figure out what each page is about, and how it may be useful for users.

 

 

A Common Argument Against SEO

We frequently hear statements like this:

"No smart engineer would ever build a search engine that requires websites to follow certain rules or principles in order to be ranked or indexed. Anyone with half a brain would want a system that can crawl through any architecture, parse any amount of complex or imperfect code, and still find a way to return the most relevant results, not the ones that have been 'optimized' by unlicensed search marketing experts."

But Wait …

Imagine you posted online a picture of your family dog. A human might describe it as "a black, medium-sized dog, looks like a Lab, playing fetch in the park." On the other hand, the best search engine in the world would struggle to understand the photo at anywhere near that level of sophistication. How do you make a search engine understand a photograph? Fortunately, SEO allows webmasters to provide clues that the engines can use to understand the content. In fact, adding proper structure to your content is essential to SEO.

Understanding both the abilities and limitations of search engines allows you to properly build, format, and annotate your web content in a way that search engines can digest. Without SEO, a website can be invisible to search engines.

The Limits of Search Engine Technology

The major search engines all operate on the same principles. Automated search bots crawl the web, follow links, and index content in massive databases. They accomplish this with dazzling artificial intelligence, but modern search technology is not all-powerful. There are numerous technical limitations that cause significant problems in both inclusion and rankings. We've listed the most common below:

Problems Crawling and Indexing

  • Online forms: Search engines aren't good at completing online forms (such as a login), and thus any content contained behind them may remain hidden.
  • Duplicate pages: Websites using a CMS (Content Management System) often create duplicate versions of the same page; this is a major problem for search engines looking for completely original content.
  • Blocked in the code: Errors in a website's crawling directives (robots.txt) may lead to blocking search engines entirely.
  • Poor link structures: If a website's link structure isn't understandable to the search engines, they may not reach all of a website's content; or, if it is crawled, the minimally exposed content may be deemed unimportant by the engine's index.
  • Non-text Content: Although the engines are getting better at reading non-HTML text, content in rich media format is still difficult for search engines to parse. This includes text in Flash files, images, photos, video, audio, and plug-in content.

Problems Matching Queries to Content

  • Uncommon terms: Text that is not written in the common terms that people use to search. For example, writing about "food cooling units" when people actually search for "refrigerators."
  • Language and internationalization subtleties: For example, "color" vs. "colour." When in doubt, check what people are searching for and use exact matches in your content.
  • Incongruous location targeting: Targeting content in Polish when the majority of the people who would visit your website are from Japan.
  • Mixed contextual signals: For example, the title of your blog post is "Mexico's Best Coffee" but the post itself is about a vacation resort in Canada which happens to serve great coffee. These mixed messages send confusing signals to search engines.

Make sure your content gets seen

Getting the technical details of search engine-friendly web development correct is important, but once the basics are covered, you must also market your content. The engines by themselves have no formulas to gauge the quality of content on the web. Instead, search technology relies on the metrics of relevance and importance, and they measure those metrics by tracking what people do: what they discover, react, comment, and link to. So, you can’t just build a perfect website and write great content; you also have to get that content shared and talked about.

                                       The Competitive Nature of Search Engines

Take a look at any search results page and you'll find the answer to why search marketing has a long, healthy life ahead.  There are, on average, ten positions on the search results page. The pages that fill those positions are ordered by rank. The higher your page is on the search results page, the better your click-through rate and ability to attract searchers. Results in positions 1, 2, and 3 receive much more traffic than results down the page, and considerably more than results on deeper pages. The fact that so much attention goes to so few listings means that there will always be a financial incentive for search engine rankings. No matter how search may change in the future, websites and businesses will compete with one another for this attention, and for the user traffic and brand visibility it provides.

Constantly Changing SEO

When search marketing began in the mid-1990s, manual submission, the meta keywords tag, and keyword stuffing were all regular parts of the tactics necessary to rank well. In 2004, link bombing with anchor text, buying hordes of links from automated blog comment spam injectors, and the construction of inter-linking farms of websites could all be leveraged for traffic. In 2011, social media marketing and vertical search inclusion are mainstream methods for conducting search engine optimization. The search engines have refined their algorithms along with this evolution, so many of the tactics that worked in 2004 can hurt your SEO today.

The future is uncertain, but in the world of search, change is a constant. For this reason, search marketing will continue to be a priority for those who wish to remain competitive on the web. Some have claimed that SEO is dead, or that SEO amounts to spam. As we see it, there's no need for a defense other than simple logic:

Websites compete for attention and placement in the search engines, and those with the knowledge and experience to improve their website's ranking will receive the benefits of increased traffic and visibility.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Data-Led Inbound Marketing

Data-Led Inbound Marketing

Columnist Chris Liversidge shows how a streamlined, data-led process can be used to set clear priorities and objectives that drive both social and SEO performance over time.

 

 

This is a follow-up to my post at the end of 2015, which looked at how you can take third-party tools and merge their data to create weighted segment reports that allow you to better target inbound link building campaigns.

 

 

This time, I’d like to focus on quantifying actions and impact so you can build data-led inbound strategies from the ground up.

I’ll share the outputs of that analysis, using our surfing "key phrase" sets to show the types of inbound content triggered by the analysis. And I’ll discuss how to embed them into a broader campaign planner to provide a performance-driven SEO planner you and your team can work through.

Mining Your Performance Data For Insights

Using our weighted Estimated True Value (ETV) model to find the best blend of positive social metrics and positive link data, we can segment our data to look at high-performing data like this:

Sorting data by our weighted ETV highlights the best blend of link volume, domain strength and diversity and social engagement metrics.

In this example, I’ve aggregated the social interaction across multiple social channels: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. However, you can pivot the data to segment by each, should you so choose, and I’d recommend that approach if you know one particular social channel is more valuable to your marketing message than another.

We can see that our top-performing content has a common campaign dominating the ETV sorted data:

A single campaign takes multiple top spots in our report view.

A single campaign takes multiple top spots in our report view.

Quicksilver Japan’s “True wetsuits” campaign, rolled out in Spring/Summer 2015, has had excellent results across our data set for social impact that drives a high volume of high-value links from a diverse domain mix: the perfect storm and a great model for effective SEO and social campaign success crossover.

The actual YouTube video is ranked underneath a light-hearted Adweek press summary and follow-on posts by GrindTV and Surf Session (both of which embed the YouTube video). Crucially, the top-performing item goes into further detail on the range itself, pulling out different styles and options and pulling in other press content imagery that adds greater depth to the video.

It’s also very obvious that this top-performing article content isn’t from the original release country.

So what are our takeaways? Well, we can see that niche site performance is a trend; in addition to the two previous examples, Nakisurf also performs strongly.

Embedding the release video is important, and provision of additional release collateral — going the extra mile to tell the full story and support the message of the release — has worked strongly.

Also, and most importantly, our target audience is global. When we consider the other high-ranking content around our target terms in the report, we can see the UK version of Business Insider, a new Zealand stockist, ION’s US site and a Spanish editorial on the Quicksilver campaign from Xataka.

So in addition to having go-to sites and social influencers that are highly valued in our target niche from the report (and supporting data in the previous part), we have much clearer definition of the content that succeeded for those publications:

  • Clear, catchy, light brand message, expressed via video storytelling, tone matched to product lifestyle.
  • Supporting product range information (detail, detail, detail!).
  • Supplying technical specification in depth (2 mm. neoprene and so on),
  • High-resolution PR shots made available, extensive shots from filming made available.
  • Targeted launch outreach to international publications.
  • Lightweight light opinion/release pieces targeted to niche publications to support.
  • Follow-up campaign collateral and opinion pieces two to three weeks after initial campaign promotion (see Xataka).
  • Remove language barriers in collateral.

It goes without saying there are further tone and messaging learnings to be had from reviewing the social promotion during the campaign, and I recommend using a tool like True Social Metrics to gain visibility on the archived fire hoses from your key social channels and to perform sentiment and tone analysis to validate your approach success.

Looping launch planning into these data insights is straightforward. Choosing the right projects to work on and prioritize simply requires comparison. Because we start our process by choosing key phrase targets, we can rerun our reports for multiple terms or sets of terms to gain output like the above and compare the absolute numbers (Domain Strength, Link Volume, Strength, Diversity), to prioritize those that have higher point of impact.

Align that list of high-impact content areas with your current content and PR planner, and you can conduct a rationalization piece to set your priorities. After that, you need to define your baseline KPIs and agree on what success looks like. We can use the same data sources to set that.

Benchmark To Measure Growth

I often speak to businesses that are slipping behind their competitors’ SEO or social performance, and invariably there is a lack of appropriate benchmarking that underpins their underperformance.

Let’s use an example benchmark to illustrate the point.

Re-visualising True Social Metrics data and calculating a moving average to benchmark gives a clearer starting point.

The benchmark above shows, for Twitter only, the “Social Engagement” rates for seven brands and a calculated “Moving Average” of the group. The underlying data is from True Social Metrics, and their key engagement types are highlighted for a single domain versus the moving average.

Absolute numbers give context to our benchmark.

Providing further context to the existing reach of competing profiles is important for social, and so in the above part of the benchmark, we frame the engagement rates in absolute terms.

This is an excellent starting engagement point to measure social improvement from and dovetails with the previous report to supply a baseline you can use to show improvement over time.

Setting SMART objectives against increasing engagement rates against your selected competitor moving average, increasing follower counts to allow for future campaign amplification and backfilling seasonally slow times for social will all merge with the content priorities discussed as outputs from the weighted true value inbound campaign analysis.

So although we are jumping across multiple tools, I hope it’s clear that a streamlined, data-led process can be used to set clear priorities and understandable SMART objectives that drive both social and SEO performance over time in a virtuous cycle.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Capture more Leads with Inbound Marketing

Capture more Leads with Inbound Marketing

The Best Inbound Marketing Tool

Marketing has changed. Today’s consumer take their time to get informed about a product before buying it. Thanks to Google, Yelp, Wikipedia, and a wide variety of websites, your customers can easily gather enough information to be well-informed on any topic in minutes, and that information dictates which companies they choose to work with.

People have adapted their habits when it comes to browsing the internet, but there’s a way to take advantage of those new browsing habits. Just think about the last time you made a purchase decision – did you “Google It” before making up your mind?

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is where your customers find you!… Instead of you chasing them down. Inbound marketing is a method of creating SEO friendly (i.e. people can find you on Google), customer-centric content that your audience is looking for, rather than trying to reach out to someone who may or may not be interested in what you have to offer.

Outbound marketing has been the standard way of doing things for a while now. You buy ads, set up a newsletter, send out cold emails, make cold calls, and generally shout into the darkness about your site in hopes that someone will hear you and respond. And to be completely fair about it, if you shout loud enough, you will attract some visitors to your site, but they might not be the visitors you were hoping for.

Inbound marketing works differently. Instead of doing everything in your power to reach outward in hopes of finding your audience, you create high-quality content like blog posts, videos, podcasts, and interactive demos. By doing so, you’re ensuring that your audience will want to find you. Outbound marketing yields a mixture of visitors who are interested in what you have to offer and visitors who had the wrong idea about your business. Some of those leads are warm, and some aren’t; it’s a mixed bag. With inbound marketing, every visitor is a warm lead. They’re coming to your site because they’re interested in what you offer, not because you were the loudest voice on the internet.

Why should you use inbound marketing?

Let’s start with the cold hard facts. According to Hubspot, inbound marketing costs 61% less to implement than outbound marketing, and it has been proven to generate 54% more leads. If your marketing budget looks a little like the piggy bank above, those two facts alone should be reason enough to give it a try, but there are plenty of benefits beyond the severely decreased cost per lead. For starters, each lead you get will be warm. With inbound marketing, your audience finds you naturally; in other words, they’re already interested in what you have to offer before they ever hear your sales pitch. Even better, if you start with great content, your visitors will come back to your site, again and again, giving you more chances to take advantage of a warm lead!

You have good content! Now how do you make that content work for you?

If you start with good content, every visitor to your site will be a warm lead. All you have to do from there is capture those leads, and that’s where Digioh comes in. Our lightbox is a robust and powerful tool that helps you put the right call to action in front of the right visitor.

Once you’ve used inbound marketing to bring warm leads to your site, the Digioh Lightbox can help you to capture your visitors’ interest by presenting a compelling offer to them. By offering a free guide, a one on one consultation, or a discount on their next purchase, you can get your visitors to subscribe to your mailing list, or provide their contact info. Once you have that contact info, you can help them understand why they should buy your product.

The Digioh Lightbox is designed to put the power in the marketer’s hands. Once it’s installed on your site, you won’t need to deal with the IT department to make changes. Just log into Digioh, and use our user-friendly editor to change your call to action, or alter the appearance of the lightbox, and then just hit the publish button to push those changes to your site.

Our lightbox also offers a suite of powerful rules you can use to set who sees them and when. You can create a lightbox that will only show to users who came to your site from a specific referrer, you can target your lightbox based on the visitor’s geographic location, and you can target it based on the page your visitors are viewing. These customization options make it easy to put the right call to action in front of the right visitor.

All of those customization options make easy to create an engaging form to present to your visitors. If you know where they came in from, and what page on your site they’re reading, it’s easy to craft a message that’s going to appeal directly to their needs. You know what they’re looking for, and now you can craft an opt-in form that shows them you can give them what they need!

With all of these powerful tools at your disposal, it’s easy to turn visitors into leads, and leads into conversions!  Don’t let all that time and effort you put into making great content go to waste; use the Digioh lightbox to engage your visitors, and you’ll be able to take full advantage of the audience your content has brought to your site!

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

What is Impact-Based Advertising?

What is Impact-Based Advertising?

Impact-based advertising is a form of advertising designed to have a lasting psychological effect on viewers so they will remember the product or vendor. This approach can help advertising produce the greatest results for a given expenditure.

Impact-based advertising is often contrasted with impression-based advertising, which is focused on the number of times that an ad is seen and does not differentiate between segments of the audience. Impact-based advertising seeks to give the user something of value, whether that is entertainment or information and create a positive association with the product or service advertised.

On the Internet, impact-based advertising applies mainly to Web-based content although it can take the form of marketing email messages. With the increasing availability of high-speed Internet connections, sophisticated Web-based ads have become practical. A good example is a video that plays while the viewer looks at a Web page. Such videos often have distracting features such as handsome heroes, dancing dogs, crashing cars or marauding monsters.

When an advertiser wants to maximize the impact of an ad, the placement of the ad is a critical consideration. Effective ad locations are in transitional Web pages or in pages that viewers are likely to look at for a sustained period of time. Some advertisers use pop-ups that block desired content or pop-unders that remain on the screen even after the user exits the browser. However, many Web users find these tactics annoying and may react to them negatively.

Ads that come between users and the content they have requested are a form of interruption marketing, a category that also includes telemarketing calls during the dinner hour and commercials during your favorite television show. According to a report from IBM, The End of Advertising as We Know It, the advertising world will go through more change in the next five years than it did in the previous 50. An increasing trend towards impact-based and permission-based marketing is expected to be a part of that change.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

How People Interact With Search Engines

How People Interact With Search Engines

One of the most important elements to building an online marketing strategy around SEO is empathy for your audience. Once you grasp what your target market is looking for, you can more effectively reach and keep those users.

Robot Evolution

Build for users, not for search engines

We like to say, "Build for users, not for search engines." There are three types of search queries people generally make:

  • "Do" Transactional Queries: I want to do something, such as buy a plane ticket or listen to a song.
  • "Know" Informational Queries: I need information, such as the name of a band or the best restaurant in New York City.
  • "Go" Navigation Queries: I want to go to a particular place on the Internet, such as Facebook or the homepage of the NFL.

When visitors type a query into a search box and land on your site, will they be satisfied with what they find? This is the primary question that search engines try to answer billions of times each day. The search engines' primary responsibility is to serve relevant results to their users. So ask yourself what your target customers are looking for and make sure your site delivers it to them.

The True Power of Inbound Marketing with SEO

Why should you invest time, effort, and resources on SEO? When looking at the broad picture of search engine usage, fascinating data is available from several studies. We've extracted those that are recent, relevant, and valuable, not only for understanding how users search but to help present a compelling argument about the power of SEO.

A Broad PictureGoogle leads the way in an October 2011 study by comScore:
  • Google led the U.S. core search market in April with 65.4 percent of the searches conducted, followed by Yahoo! with 17.2 percent, and Microsoft with 13.4 percent. (Microsoft powers Yahoo Search. In the real world, most webmasters see a much higher percentage of their traffic from Google than these numbers suggest.)
  • Americans alone conducted a staggering 20.3 billion searches in one month. Google accounted for 13.4 billion searches, followed by Yahoo! (3.3 billion), Microsoft (2.7 billion), Ask Network (518 million), and AOL LLC (277 million).
  • Total search powered by Google properties equaled 67.7 percent of all search queries, followed by Bing which powered 26.7 percent of all search.

Billions spent on online marketing from an August 2011 Forrester report:

  • Online marketing costs will approach $77 billion in 2016.
  • This amount will represent 26% of all advertising budgets combined.
     

Search is the new Yellow Pages from a Burke 2011 report:

  • 76% of respondents used search engines to find local business information vs. 24% who turned to print yellow pages.
  • 67% had used search engines in the past 30 days to find local information, and 23% responded that they had used online social networks as a local media source.
     

An August 2011 Pew Internet study revealed:

  • The percentage of Internet users who use search engines on a typical day has been steadily rising from about one-third of all users in 2002, to a new high of 59% of all adult Internet users.
  • With this increase, the number of those using a search engine on a typical day is pulling ever closer to the 61 percent of Internet users who use e-mail, arguably the Internet's all-time killer app, on a typical day.
     

StatCounter Global Stats reports the top 5 search engines sending traffic worldwide:

  • Google sends 90.62% of traffic.
  • Yahoo! sends 3.78% of traffic.
  • Bing sends 3.72% of traffic.
  • Ask Jeeves sends .36% of traffic.
  • Baidu sends .35% of traffic.
     

A 2011 study by Slingshot SEO reveals click-through rates for top rankings:

  • A #1 position in Google's search results receives 18.2% of all click-through traffic.
  • The second position receives 10.1%, the third 7.2%, the fourth 4.8%, and all others under 2%.
  • A #1 position in Bing's search results averages a 9.66% click-through rate.
  • The total average click-through rate for first ten results was 52.32% for Google and 26.32% for Bing.
     

That's Some Spicey Data You Got There

All of this impressive research data leads us to important conclusions about web search and marketing through search engines. In particular, we're able to make the following statements:

  • Search is very, very popular. Growing strong at nearly 20% a year, it reaches nearly every online American, and billions of people around the world.
  • Search drives an incredible amount of both online and offline economic activity.
  • Higher rankings in the first few results are critical to visibility.
  • Being listed at the top of the results not only provides the greatest amount of traffic but also instills trust in consumers as to the worthiness and relative importance of the company or website.

Learning the foundations of SEO is a vital step in achieving these goals.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor