Monday, 28 December 2015

5 Reasons Why Slack Is the Tool You Need for Business Communication

Slack has been all the rage for companies and employees over the last year, but now that 2015 is wrapping up it’s making headlines as one of the hottest startups of the year worth $2.8 billion, and it’s expected to see an even bigger reach in 2016. While it may have started as a tool employee’s use on their own, there are ways that you can bring Slack into your company officially and help improve communication and collaboration. Check out how it works below and how you can use it to your advantage.

The Basics: How Slack Works

Slack is actually considered a “messaging app” and is completely free to use. The idea behind Slack is to make communication easier between coworkers with a few advanced features to also improve collaboration (more on this in the last section). Below is a sample screenshot of the dashboard of Slack:

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 2.47.04 PM

As you can see, it is structured similarly to a social mean stream while keeping tabs separated on the left-hand side. This means that each person will have a potentially different looking Slack dashboard based on the channels they are a part of or created. It offers three basic features:

  • Channels. This helps you organize conversations within that Slack team in what they call “open channels.” When you make a channel, then everyone can see what is going on in that channel. This means it’s a good idea to create channels for different projects, topics, or a conversation between certain team members.
  • Private Channels. This is the place where you want to include confidential information with just a few team members.
  • Direct Messages. This works just like email. Reach one coworker quickly and directly. The screenshot above is showing a Direct Message.

In addition to the three basic features above, you also have a few advanced features to work with that can help take businesses to the next level:

  • You can drag, drop, and share your files within Slack conversations. This includes images, PDFs, spreadsheets, etc. You can add comments, star to reach later, and search for these files.
  • Paste the link for your Google Drive spreadsheets or Dropbox files and that document will then be in sync and searchable right away.
  • Setup integration between Slack and your other apps so you don’t have to switch back and forth and so that you can get notifications within Slack. This makes it easy to use Slack as a one-stop platform.

Keeping things in sync is probably what Slack does best and why Slack is becoming so popular. Not only is everything archived and therefore searchable, but it’s also compatible with iOS and Android so you have the information with you wherever you go.

Getting Started with Slack

To get started you visit the website and type in your email address. You are then sent through a series of webpages to get started that include:

  • Name your team, which refers to the overall Slack account.
  • You’re then given a custom URL that you and your coworkers will use to sign in to Slack.
  • Pick a username so that coworkers recognize you.
  • Look in your email to setup your password.

That’s all there is to it to get started. You will then be asked to send invitations to your coworkers so that they can be a part of your slack conversation. Once members get your email invitation and join, you can start talking and using the features mentioned above.

5 Ways to Use Slack to Improve Communication in Your Business

So it’s clear that Slack is all about communication, but how exactly you organize your Slack conversations/ channels can help you make sure you’re taking full advantage of the benefits. Consider some of the ways you can use the tool below:

Create a Channel for Blog Posts to Discuss Social Promotion

This is usually where businesses start. Sometimes it’s tough to get everyone in your company on the same page when it come to content, but even your IT professionals can benefit from sharing and knowing what’s happening with the blog. Use this Channel as a way to add links to most recent content that has been published and ask others to help promote on social. Because it can sync with Buffer, this makes it easy for the Channel owner to urge others to share right then and there.

Integrate Slack with Google Drive

By integrating Slack with Google Drive you can truly keep everything in one place. We use this as a way to keep track of the links we earn, which makes an SEO audit much easier. Because everyone can collaborate, it’s easier to make sure you cover all of your bases.

As discussed above, Google Drive isn’t the only app that you can sync with Slack, in fact far from it. Visit this link to see a list of all the apps that are compatible with the tool. They even break up the apps by category, so you have choices from Customer Support to File Management to HR, Productivity, Social, and much more.

Take Advantage of the Open API

This essentially means that Slack is made for developers. The tool makes it easy to add other tools to a developer’s user stream so you can use Slack for payroll, Intranet, advertising, structure management, and more.

Build a Referral Network

According to an Entrepreneur article, freelancers are among those who benefit most from using Slack because they can use it as a way to build referrals. They say that freelance workers make up about 34 percent of the workforce in the US, and 81 percent of freelancers refer work to fellow freelancers. On top of that, 52 percent hire fellow freelancers to collaborate on projects. This makes Slack the perfect place to organize this network and keep the freelance work flowing faster and easier than ever before.

Extra: What Are Slack Credits?

You’ll notice that when you sign up for Slack you can take a survey to earn Slack credits (usually $100). Although Slack is free and has an unlimited free option that is most popular, they do offer a paid option for $6.67 per user per month. This has features such as guest access, priority support, longer archives of messages, and more, which you can check out on their Pricing Page. If you choose to go for a premium package, Slack uses your credits toward your payment until they run out.

Does your company use Slack? What strategies does your company use to help keep things moving in the right direction? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Thursday, 24 December 2015

Happy Holidays! See you in January

As Search Engine Watch sets its out of office reply to ‘can’t talk, too busy crying because nobody bought me Poe Dameron’s X-Wing’ all that’s left to do is fire off one final message for 2015.
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Wednesday, 23 December 2015

11 biggest SEO trends and events of 2015

To help unpick the tangled web of news-stories and trends are a selection of expert contributors, who will expand further on the biggest events on the year and perhaps shine a light on what may come in 2016
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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

6 Ways SEO is Like the Grinch

So we all love SEO in the end, but it can be a rocky road to getting the results you want. This holiday season looking back on everything SEO, it’s amazing how easy it is to compare the industry to The Grinch. And so in the spirit of the holidays, check out five ways that SEO is just like the Grinch below.


In order to steal all the toys from the Whos down in Whoville and pose as Santa the Grinch had to be sneaky, and we all know that in the SEO world sneaky changes and updates happen all the time. Remember when (not provided) data was removed? Or when the Phantom updates were released? And there’s a lot more where that came from.


Lives up on a hill in a cave.

When it comes to SEO in regards to Google, the rules are above us all and are not reachable. We’d like to think that we have some sort of idea what’s going on up there and we have some sort of control, but when it really comes down to it SEOs are at the mercy of those sitting up on a hill in what may as well be a cave.

Takes away from you unexpectedly.

The Grinch of course spends the better part of Christmas night taking away toys and stockings and decorations from all the children in Whoville without giving any warning (which was really the point). Google does this often. Sometimes we hear about an impending algorithm update happening in the next two days, but sometimes their changes and new features and announcements come out of nowhere. It can cause a company to have to change their strategy or stop what they’re doing to learn more about the update which can take away time, and usually this wasted time is therefore completely unpredictable.


Just as the Grinch was irritated with the cheerful spirits of those down in Whoville, Google, users, and businesses alike get bothered by spam, poor quality content, and above all else link building for the sake of link building (as opposed to writing for readers). Google is constantly looking for ways to make sure that those trying to improve their SEO are not scamming the system and trying to push out keyword-rich anchor text and unnatural content all for the sake of rankings. Again, we’ve seen this with their introduction of the disavow tool, penalties for using keyword-rich anchor text, penalties for buying directory links, etc.

Has a change of heart.

The Grinch saw a change of heart when he saw the Whos down in Whoville celebrate Christmas even with no gifts, which of course is where he discovered the real spirit and meaning of the holiday. Even though it may seem like Google and the other search giants are out to get us, they listen to their users. It may take them a while to come around, but they have the best intentions in the end. They work hard to make sure that the web is fair and you have to really put out great content in order to see a great ranking, and although this may mean more work for SEOs in the end, it’s worth it. This may not necessarily be a “change of heart” from Google’s standpoint, but SEOs attitudes toward Google often come around time and time again.

Has potential to save the day.

It was the Grinch that saved the day for the Whos by brining them back all of their presents. In the SEO world, it’s all of your efforts that can help save the day when you feel like your business is having a bad quarter or year. If you really put in the time then SEO will deliver, you just have to be patient. Before you know it you will climb up those organic rankings, have a website full of relevant content, and have built a community for your brand.

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Intelligent content creation in 2016: engagement and experiences

There has been a shift away from creating content for contents’ sake and a much greater emphasis on the value of creating content with specific goals for specific people.
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SEW's 10 most popular articles of 2015

Yesterday we brought you the 10 most popular articles by Search Engine Watch's guest writers, now it's time to list those produced by our editorial team.
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Monday, 21 December 2015

4 Steps to Tracking Print Ads with Google Analytics

In digital marketing we understand the importance of tracking. We spend money getting people to our site with hopes they’ll do what we desire them to do and that we’ll learn something about how to improve our digital marketing efforts. While we’ve seen a consistent trend of print spend be allocated to digital spend, we often forget that print is still a channel worth understanding.  In fact, one study shows that print ads are more likely to engage users and prompt action. This begs the question, if print can be a strong channel, why don’t companies invest in it?

The answer is likely because companies are now used to understanding what their dollars are doing. When print, TV and billboards were the primary ad spots, attribution was not an easy task, but today companies have built a habit of understanding how much revenue is generated by their ad spend dollars thanks to the Internet and Google Analytics.

Currently when print ads list the website on the actual ad in the hopes that users will check out the company at home on their desktop, users usually do just that—they’re likely to type it into their browser. This would then mean that the traffic is classified as Direct, which is not a fun traffic source to analyze or understand in Analytics. Or maybe the user does a Google search for the brand and clicks on one of their pages in the search results, which would classify the traffic as Organic Search. Unfortunately, both of these metrics are wrong. The print ad should get the credit for bringing the user to the site. So how can we track these print ads digitally?

To help make sure you can track your print ads digitally in Google Analytics so that you can better analyze the success of your ads, here is the easy four-step process:

Decide on a vanity URL

Most print ads include a domain name or URL, but if you want to know which website visitors saw this ad you’ll need a vanity URL. Vanity URL’s are unique, short and/or simple URL that demonstrates the brand or ad campaign. For example if the company EntoBento, a San Diego based dog treat company, ran a promotional ad in Time Magazine, the vanity URL might be “”. You can learn more about creating a vanity URL here.

Create and apply UTM parameters to the landing page URL for the ad

UTM parameters are tracking codes appended to the end of a URL that allow you to customize your tracking sources. You can use the Google UTM builder to create the tracking URL for the ad in just a few minutes.

Continuing with the previous example, the tracking URL for EntoBento’s ad might look like:

We got this URL by using the UTM builder mentioned above. We simply plugged in the URL of our website and the tool generated this new URL with UTM parameters for us.

Redirect the vanity URL to a URL with custom UTM parameters

This part is a little technical.  A developer will have to create a redirect to send traffic from your vanity URL to the tracking URL. This means, taking the example from above once again: would redirect to

Check Google Analytics real-time reports

After the redirect is setup, paste your vanity URL into the browser to test the redirect and that the UTM is working properly.  Open Google Analytics and navigate to Real-Time reports on the left side. Select traffic sources to confirm you see the tracking. Below is a screenshot of what the report looks like:



Why It Matters: The Benefit of Tracking Print Ads Via Google Analytics

By implementing print ad tracking you’re reducing the amount of traffic that is wrongly classified as Direct or Organic search and gaining insight into how your different print efforts are working. With this practice you will be beyond most companies who do print advertising with little understanding of how their ad performs.

Extra: This same process can be applied on your business cards, handouts, fliers, billboards, stickers, or your banner at an event / tradeshow. Wouldn’t that be interesting to see how much handout traffic you get? Or what the bounce rate is on your business cards? Get creative. If your business is using print, don’t be scared to track it digitally.

Do you have experience with tracking print ads through Google Analytics? Let us know if you have any questions or thoughts in the comment section below.

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10 of the most popular SEW guest articles from 2015

A compilation of the most popular articles from Search Engine Watch guest contributors in 2015.
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Comparison sites dominate UK online financial services market

Price comparison websites still dominate the UK search rankings for financial products, though more 'traditional' brands are beginning to fight back.
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Friday, 18 December 2015

Five of the most interesting SEM news stories of the week

Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from around the
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Dedicated thank you pages are no longer optional for PPC

Are there technically ways to get around having a dedicated Thank You page on your site? Sure, it's come time to quit taking short cuts and get yourself a dedicated landing page. Here's why.
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Thursday, 17 December 2015

Three ways we failed at B2B PPC in 2015

Nobody’s perfect and heck, let’s be real, B2B PPC can sometimes be even more challenging and have even more gray areas than B2C.
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Is Penguin 4.0 coming in March 2016?

In early December, Google announced “With the holidays upon us, it looks like the penguins won’t march until next year.” I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no Tom Hanks, but could this be a clue – the Da Google Code?
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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The One Major Reason W3 Total Cache Is Still Worth It for Your Business

Back in 2013 we wrote about whether or not a cache plugin will help your SEO here, and almost there years later it seems that the WordPress W3 total cache plugin may have a monopoly on the different plugins out there. It’s still the most popular, but unfortunately the idea of a cache plugin in general hasn’t grown in popularity much over the last three years. It’s still incredibly important to a good online strategy for any business, so consider why the W3 total cache is a good choice and why it really matters in the first place below.

3 Benefits of the W3 Total Cache Plugin for Your Website

For those who are unfamiliar, a cache plugin is all about the speed of your website. It’s important that your pages load quickly because according to KISSMetrics, 79% of people will hit the back button and try another website if your pages don’t load in 3 seconds or less. The term “cache” refers to when a copy of your webpage is made in HTML and then stored on your hosting server so that it (the webpage) can more quickly be shown to visitors.

If you don’t use a cache plugin your pages are still getting cached so visitors can see your webpages in the first place, they just aren’t being saved so it takes longer. If you use a cache plugin, then that means those who have already visited that webpage will not have to re-run, or copy, queries again.

There are a lot of ways to test and improve the speed of your website, which you can learn more about here, but many of the tools (such as PageSpeed Insights) will actually outright let you know if you need cache help. Every business can benefit so a cache plugin should be used regardless, but if you’ve seen that suggestion before then look no further. Consider what W3 Total Cache can do you for business and what makes it unique below:

  • Of course the plugin will cache all webpages and their content, including CSS and JavaScript, search results feeds, database objects, and browser caching.
  • It will minimize what is on your pages to help things run faster. For example, if your posts and pages have extra whitespace and/or comments, the plugin will combine CSS files into one single request.
  • Mobile, CDN, and WP-CLI support and integration.

According to a Search Engine People article, you also want to remember that this should be your only cache plugin installed. If you have another installed, you will want to disable that and then install and activate W3 Total Cache. You also want to make sure that you have enough memory reserved for your cache because it is a powerful plugin. For most businesses, however, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Major sites such as Smashing Magazine, Mashable, and Matt Cutts’ own blog all use this plugin. A few other plugins that are still popular in 2015 if you don’t like W3 Total Cache include Super Cache, Quick Cache, or Hyper Cache. Once you give it a try, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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How US consumers are researching holiday gift ideas in 2015

With Google estimating that 30% of all online purchases now happen on mobile phones, this holiday season will see retailers fighting for shoppers’ attention across more devices and channels then ever before.
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How the UK’s top retailers are using social this Christmas

Christmas is a time for sharing - at least that’s what the social media teams of some of the country’s biggest retailers want you to think.
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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

4 Ways the LinkedIn Groups Update Will Affect B2B Marketers

LinkedIn groups have always been an excellent way to find not only like-minded individuals and influencers, but find leads and reach a targeted audience. However, because LinkedIn Groups were public, over the years more and more of the conversations and members began to get spammy and promotional as opposed to a helpful resource.

You see where this is going: LinkedIn announced on November 26 that, thanks to user feedback and studying internal data, all Groups would now be private. With over 2 million groups out there, this is the biggest announcement we’ve seen from LinkedIn ever. So what does this mean for B2B marketers?

Breaking Down the LinkedIn Groups Changes

Aside from the new privacy restrictions, some of the most notable changes to Group Features include:

  • Standard vs. Unlisted Groups. Unlisted Groups will not show up in search results and only the group’s owner can invite members to the group. Standard Groups will show up and anyone can invite a 1st degree connection to the group.
  • All Groups are Now Members-Only Groups. You now either need an invitation of approval of your request, so get to searching and connecting!
  • Groups iOS Mobile App. This new App will allow you to follow conversations and receive push notifications for certain conversations.
  • Removal of Subgroups. These will now be treated as their own independent groups so that things don’t get confusing.
  • New Tab for Job Discussions. If someone wants to discuss a job opening, that will now be in a new tab to keep things organized and keep separate conversations flowing. This is likely in response to the removal of subgroups.

Other changes that will help eliminate spam include content moderation, removal of the Promotions tab, posting images in conversations, Mentions allowed in Group conversations, and different Group highlights and email digests. You can check out the video below to learn more about the changes:

What This Means for B2B Marketers

So the changes are pretty self-explanatory for users, but B2B marketers will also see huge benefits to their bottom line as well. Check out four ways that marketers will see changes and how you can take advantage below:

  1. You can now include special promotions.

Because Groups are now private, you can offer special promotions or feature special announcements that you may only want to offer a small group of people who have been talking with you. Keep in mind that you want to avoid anything too promotional, though, because that’s what LinkedIn is trying to avoid in the first place. Be sure that if you’re accepted as a group member, you’re there to talk with members and offer advice. Only make a special announcement if it seems appropriate. That’s not the end goal.

  1. You’ll see higher levels of engagement.

Because of the new members-only rule, you should see more engagement. This will mean smaller, more targeted groups, and it means that members will actually be able to read all of the relevant comments as opposed to having to scroll down through spam and longer, poor-quality contributions.

  1. You can find candidates faster than before.

Now that there is a new tab for discussions about jobs, it’s easier to scroll through and find candidates while still being able to participate in the group with quality content as opposed to searching for jobs/ candidates. In other words, as a recruiter you’re able to still post about a job, but that conversation can be kept to the side so that you see all of the messages responding to the job discussion without having to disrupt the other conversations happening in the group.

  1. Lengthier discussions.

This was an idea I got from HubSpot that mentions the major push for social networks to have deeper and lengthier discussions with their social members (as seen through the revamp of Twitter DM and Facebook Messenger). Now that there is a new Groups App specific to LinkedIn Groups and brand’s can @mention certain people, conversations can last longer and you can answer questions more directly and create that ongoing conversation.

How else will the new update help you as a marketer? Do you like the changes LinkedIn made, or do you see any problems arising? Let us know in the comments below!

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How hacking hurts your website’s ranking in search results

It’s not enough to create a great website and leave it set. A healthy website requires ongoing maintenance. A major part of this is to protect it from vulnerability.
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Customer journey from search to checkout - Star Wars: The Force Awakens tickets

In which we take a look at the experience of searching for a product, looking at a brand's paid search ad for the item and its subsequent landing page, all from a customer’s point of view.
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Monday, 14 December 2015

How healthy is your location data?

I doubt that many brands spend much time thinking about data health. It's not the sexiest topic in our industry, and its importance is vastly underestimated.
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3 Steps to Getting Started with Google Analytics’ New Smart Goals Feature

You may have noticed in your Google Analytics account that there is a beta test feature called Smart Goals showing up under the Conversions category, and for many companies this is going to be a huge addition. The new feature was created to help businesses that are not currently measuring conversions, which of course can make it tough to optimize your campaigns. Believe it or not, according to a Search Engine Land article, there are thousands of advertisers that find themselves in this position. This could be because a business does not have a way for users to convert on their website, or they may just not have the time or resources to track conversions using AdWords.

Regardless of why you may not be measuring your conversions in AdWords, Smart Goals makes it easy to gain insights. Even if you are measuring conversions on your own, this new feature can still help you come up with conclusions about your audience and their behavior. So according to the official announcement, the way it works is this:

To generate Smart Goals, we apply machine learning across thousands of websites that use Google Analytics and have opted in to share anonymized conversion data. From this information, we can distill dozens of key factors that correlate with the likelihood to convert: things like session durations, pages per session, location, device, and browser.

In other words, Smart Goals are not taking or measuring any actions that happen on your actual website (which is how it works with conversion tracking through AdWords). The data they use for Smart Goals comes from many different, anonymous websites, and then Google Analytics makes “most likely to convert” predictions based on that. You can then use their conclusions and that data to test different options for your own website.

3 Steps to Getting Started with the Smart Goals Feature

Below explains how to get started using the feature and how you can use it to your advantage:

  1. Connect your Analytics and AdWords accounts.

This is actually the only way that you will be eligible for Smart Goals, so it’s important to connect your two accounts. You can do this by clicking Admin in Analytics > Property column > AdWords Linking. You simply follow a few screens from there so it’s pretty self-explanatory, but you can visit here to learn more.

  1. Activate and visit Smart Goals in Google Analytics.

Visit Admin > Goals > Smart Goals. You’re all set! No need to do anything else, the feature will just start working for you. You can also see how Smart Goals perform before you actually activate them by looking under the Conversions section of Google Analytics. This will show you how behavior changes between Smart Goals visits and other visits that are not expected to convert. Below is a screenshot from the official announcement that shows how the Smart Goals visits saw more pages on saw users stay on-site for a longer period of time than the visits that Smart Goals thought would not convert:


  1. Import Smart Goals into AdWords and Optimize for Smart Goals

If you choose, you can improve Smart Goals into AdWords and then use Smart Goals as an AdWords conversion. In other words, you set a target cost per acquisition with the Smart Goal being that acquisition. This will allow you to better understand what you want to do with your AdWords campaigns based on Smart Goals data.

Keep in mind that Smart Goals is still rolling out so you may see if pop up over the next several weeks. Once you give it a try, let us know what you think in the comment section below.

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Six things I learned launching a MarTech startup

In February 2015, two co-founders and I launched Phrasee – a subject line optimisation company – and little did we know we were embarking the wildest ride of our lives.
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Friday, 11 December 2015

Six of the most interesting SEM news stories of the week

This week: changes to structured snippets, a new feature on YouTube, online ad stats and Bing is going to decide what you’re having for dinner.
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App interstitial ads: what Google’s crackdown means to you

You may remember a few months back, Google mentioned that by showing giant, screen-covering ads for your app to mobile visitors it may lead to a ranking decrease.
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Thursday, 10 December 2015

Why you shouldn’t forget to update your Universal Analytics tracking codes

With Google announcing that it will be retiring its classic Analytics, if your sites and apps are still using old and outdated tracking codes and libraries, you’re going to miss out.
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Click-through rate (CTR) might beat PageRank for Google’s top search results

If we assume, as the joke goes, that the best place to hide a dead body is on page two of Google, we can assume it has a lot of click data to play around with on page one but much less after that point.
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26 content amplification triggers to help increase engagement

There’s so much content out there these days that it can be difficult to cut through the noise. You really need to go the extra mile to make an impression.
The article 26 content amplification triggers to help increase engagement was first seen from

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Spotlight: DuckDuckGo's Gabriel Weinberg

DuckDuckGo doesn't collect user data, which appeals to people as ad blockers grow. But the search engine's founder knows it'll take more than privacy to lure people from Google.
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How links could be online marketing’s most important KPI in 2016

I have noticed an increasing trend during the second half of 2015, the recognized importance of links within online marketing by those outside SEO.
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12 Ways to Create, Test, and Optimize Successful Headlines

Headlines have always been one of the most important aspects of a content strategy for companies. Even before there was competition, before social media existed, and in fact even before the age of the Internet, hooking your audience with a clever headline was taught in schools. Now that we do have social media, competitors and other online optimization efforts to deal with, headlines have only become more important, and how we create those headlines changes from year to year because of these different factors.

Fortunately, creating a headline doesn’t have to simply be a writer staring endlessly at a computer screen hoping to come up with something catchy. If you break down the headline creation process into brainstorming, tools to help test headlines, and optimization tactics, you can craft the perfect headlines without feeling overwhelmed. And remember—it really matters. According to famous businessman David Ogilvy, “on average, only 1 out of 5 readers gets beyond your headline.”

6 Ways to Help You Think Up Engaging Headlines

A big part of being able to come up with headlines that work means understanding what your audience really wants and what characteristics work. Believe it or not, there is a psychology to what people will read. Understanding this can help you craft headlines in a way that sticks. A few tips to keep in mind include:

  1. Use a number in your headline.

According to a Social Media Examiner article, studies have proven that readers prefer headlines that include numbers. This could be because it tells you right away how long the content might be, and it also tells readers that it will be easy to skim and scan because it will be clearly split up into sections.

Example: 25 Ways to Teach Yourself SEO or Top 3 Most Effective Exercises for Weight Loss

  1. Keep it 8-12 words long.

Short headlines pop. They’re easier to digest and read quickly, and today as readers browse through blogs and scroll through content that’s exactly what you need. You want to grab the attention of your readers while still engaging them to click.

  1. Evoke an emotion such as curiosity or anticipation.

Any kind of emotion that you can create in a headline is going to be a winner, but it’s hard to do when you only have 8-12 words. Still, focusing on emotions can help get the creative ideas flowing. Curiosity and/or anticipation seem to be two of the best because it offers a little taste of what’s to come. According to a KISSmetrics article:

“There’s a psychological phenomenon you can use effectively called the curiosity gap, which is the gap between something a person knows and something he or she wants to know. People start to feel a kind of deprivation when they notice a gap in their knowledge.”

Keep in mind that while sometimes this can sound like clickbait or turn into clickbait; it’s not clickbait if you actually write an article about what the headline says. If the article doesn’t have much to do with the headline or doesn’t satisfy the curiosity, it may be seen as clickbait which could help your CTR for the short-term and hurt it for the long-term.

Example: The Five Countries With the Most Job Opportunities or The Company with the Best Vacation Policy in the US

  1. Ask a question.

Going along with the last point, asking a question can evoke curiosity and make people want to click. The question has to be relevant and it has to be something you answer in the article, but it’s a great way to grab attention. Utilizing questions from your customers is also an excellent way to get ideas here. Look at your reviews and social media posts and see if there are any questions that you can turn into articles.

Example: How Much Should a SEO Agency Cost? Or Do You Have the Same Characteristics as Successful Entrepreneurs?

  1. Get inspiration from customers and competitors.

As discussed briefly above, a great way to come up with content ideas is to talk with your customers and take a look at your reviews and social accounts. See what people are talking about and what articles seem to be getting the most attention. Start there and see if you can think of a topic to write about, and then use some of the tactics above to create a headline that really works. Remember, the content of the headline is just as important as the structure.

Getting inspiration from your competitors is also a great way to come up with a headline that works. See what they are doing and what works for them. If you find that a lot of your competitors are succeeding with headlines that ask questions, give it a try and see how it works for your business.

  1. Write several headline options.

Upworthy very famously discusses that they have staff members come up with several different headline choices before picking the right one. This gives you options and helps force you to really think about your headline, which can be an effective tactic in coming up with your best choice. Even if it takes you a few days to write out 10 different headline options, take those few days and then look at them with a fresh mind. You will be surprised at the difference this makes!

3 Tools and Strategies to Help You Test Your Headlines

  1. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer.

The Headline Analyzer is one of the only tools out there to actually test your headlines outright. You simply type your headline into the tool for analysis, and then the tool will give you a score for that headline and then a score for each category where the tool analyzed your headline. It will then tell you what you need to work on to improve the headline. A few criteria the tool analyzes includes:

  • Word Balance
  • Headline Type
  • Length Analysis
  • Word Count
  • Keywords
  • Sentiment

Using this tool is a good last resort when you think you have the perfect headline. It makes you think about things you maybe forgot to consider, so although it isn’t always going to be spot on, it’s a great endpoint just for piece of mind.

  1. A/B testing through email.

Set a subject line and/or your content up with two different headlines when sending out email marketing campaigns. If you use a tool called Campaign Monitor you can send out two different emails, one to half of your subscriber list and one to the other half, to see which gets more clicks. Whichever email gets more clicks will then be sent out to your subscribers. This can help you know which headline is more successful with your specific audience, which should then help you know which headline to use for a blog post or article. Below is an example from a ClearVoice article I wrote a few months ago:


  1. Test headlines on Twitter.

In order to test your headlines on Twitter (or really any social media account), simply tweet both of your headlines one hour apart and see which gets more clicks from your users. You can look at performance data on Bufferapp to see where you’re not only getting the most clicks, but also the most retweets and mentions. It’s up to you to determine which data is most important to you, but the more you test headlines the more you’ll be able to see trends and make that distinction.

3 Headline Optimization Tips

  1. Don’t forget to use keywords.

You always want to make sure that you include keywords in your headline. Google tends to recommend having the first word of your headline be a keyword, but this can be tough when trying to grab your audience and really create something great. Therefore, it’s important to focus on your audience first and the search engine bots second. Still, keywords are something to take seriously, even if it is a secondary consideration!

  1. Keep it natural.

Going along with the last point, you have to keep your keywords natural. If you have too many keywords in your headline Google will look suspicious, so keep it to just one keyword. That will be enough and allow you to create something great for readers that can also rank well.

  1. Length matters.

While length is important for readers, it’s also important for search engines. 8-12 words still applies, but Google gets a little bit more specific and wants something until 60 characters.

In the end, creating a killer headline really does need to go through all of the steps above—think about the psychology of what readers want, test the headline, and then make sure the headline is optimized. If you can make sure to spend time on your headline, you should start to get more comfortable with what works for your particular website.

Give a few of these ideas a try first. Is there anything you would add to the list above? Do you have any personal experiences with writing and testing headlines? Let us know what has worked for you in the comments below.

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How to completely dominate Google's first page

See that’s the thing about SEO, it doesn’t matter how doggedly you optimise every element of your site, there will always be someone trying to ruin your plans for total SERP domination
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Tuesday, 8 December 2015

3 Reasons Publishers are Annoyed by Twitter’s Move to Eliminate Share Counts

On November 20 Twitter announced that they officially eliminated share counts on webpages. This essentially means that the little ticker/ counter you see next to Twitter shares will disappear, which means we won’t be able to see how many tweets a certain webpage earned. As you might image, this has left a lot of publishers questioning what this means and why it’s significant for the social network in the first place.

Many businesses utilized the counter to see how successful a page was on social media. While other social networks still use the counter on their social shares, Twitter can oftentimes give even more insights because they have such a large audience. Analytics are also still an option to understand social shares; the counter was just a quicker way to keep tabs. So, why the change, and what are publishers saying?

A Little Bit More about Twitter’s New Design and Why They Removed the Counter

So eliminating the share counter wasn’t actually the only thing that Twitter changed. Twitter also changed the color scheme to a blue background and white text, which is opposite of what it was before. The Twitter buttons have not gotten a refresh since 2011, so a new design was bound to happen. Below is a screenshot of before and after from the announcement:

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 1.15.33 PM

While the “endpoint” counter is gone, as you can see the Twitter followers count remained. They did say that you can still find the endpoint numbers by using the Twitter REST API, which you can learn more about here. This will take a little bit of work and knowledge on development, however, so it’s hard to argue that this is in any way the same as the counter.

As far as why they made the change, the said that they want to “design for longevity in order to limit any questions about deprecating APIs. A few other reasons they added include:

  • When the button was built, Twitter was the only button on the web. Now there are many other share buttons placed alongside Twitter, and many of them don’t have a counter.
  • The tweet button counts the number of tweets that occurred with the exact URL specified in the button. This means that it doesn’t reflect conversations about your content on Twitter, count replies, quote Tweets, variants of your URL, or the fact that some who tweet have more followers than others.
  • The “count API” was never a part of their public API endpoints, which means it was only ever intended to be used by Twitter’s own web widgets.
  • The count feature was one of the last features running on a database called Cassandra, whereas the rest of Twitter has moved on the database Manhattan. Continuing with the feature would mean rebuilding.

So there you have it. When you break it down, Twitter does offer some valid reasons for questioning whether or not they should keep the counter. Unfortunately, many publishers disagree with the decision.

3 Reasons Publishers Don’t Like the New Counter-less Twitter Design

We can’t speak for all publishers, but the buzz in the online marketing industry says that this wasn’t a popular decision amongst both publishers and writers. Regardless if you write for a small business or a blog, below are three reasons this wasn’t the greatest of news:

  1. It gives all content a fair, yet sometimes undeserved, playing field.

At first this may sound like a good thing, but for publishers it actually has an opposite affect. When users would visit a page, an article with a high number of tweets tells readers that that is a good article and therefore worth some attention. In a way, this was a motivator for writers and for publishers. You wanted to write great content so that people would share it, your Twitter count number would go up, and more people would stick around and read your article.

Without the counter, every article looks the same in terms of quality to readers who are just browsing. You could write a slam-dunk article, but you won’t have the Twitter counter to help you show it off. It used to give more information to readers, so now it’s all up to you. Talk about the growing importance of headlines and title tags!

  1. For many businesses, it seems fewer tweets are inevitable.

This was an idea Jonathan Long, founder and CEO of Market Domination Media, wrote about here and he called it the “cool effect.” In other words, people are motivated to share certain posts in order to see that number go up. If a post has thousands of shares, a reader will want to be a part of that. If there is less sharing then this means there will be less overall tweets, which means Twitter usage will slip.

  1. It takes longer to evaluate the share-ability of your posts.

As discussed above, it’s really just more annoying for publishers than anything. You used to be able to cash in on that excitement, too, when a post was trending and doing well. Now, you have to go into your Analytics to see if you can figure out which posts are the most popular, and it takes longer (and again, it’s not as much fun). In order to keep the momentum going on a popular post, you have to know it’s popular so you can keep sharing it on social media. This means you’ll have to check your Analytics several times per day instead of your quick scan.

What do you think of Twitter’s decision to eliminate the counter? Are there any reasons you would add to the list above? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Exploring the correlation between social media and search rankings

Just like email, social media is a communication medium and therefore cannot improve organic search rankings, but why is the SEO industry abuzz with social?
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12 good, bad and ugly web design trends for 2016

So what have we got going on in 2016? More of the same, some innovative new techniques, and one or two surprises, and a whole bunch of things that should have been jettisoned by now.
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Monday, 7 December 2015

The power of nothing: three lessons from Cards Against Humanity and the killing of Black Friday

One business took a pretty interesting approach to this year’s Black Friday shopping extravaganza, and it might just signal a big shift in the way that businesses interact with and market to their customers.
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22 Quick UX Tips to Put Into Practice Before the New Year Hits

User experience (UX) is a huge part of creating a great customer experience (CX). While customer experience focuses a lot on the experience someone has when they talk to a staff member, how the product/service worked and helped their needs, how likely they are to recommend your business to others, etc., UX focuses on what happens when someone visits a company website. It’s still a part of CX, but it is such a huge topic that it can help to think of UX on its own. We therefore split up the article into several different sections and then included subsections for each to help get a better understanding for UX as a whole:

  • Website Navigation and Design
  • Website Content: Blog, About Us, and Contact Pages
  • Sales Funnel Considerations
  • Checkout and/or Thank You Page Tips
  • Metrics and How to Improve

Keep in mind that these tips can work for any company—e-commerce, businesses trying to nab clients, blogs, etc. User experience is a big topic, but being able to get the basics in place and create a foundation is crucial to overall success. And so without further ado, below breaks down the points above to help get you started.

Website Navigation and Design Considerations

Website navigation makes sure that your website loads quickly, is not overwhelmed with images and media, and is easy to read and digest. Below explains some of these website navigation considerations and what you can do to improve this aspect of UX:

1. Improving Load Time

  • Use PageSpeed Insights to check load time. This is a great tool from Google that is completely free to use. You simply type in your URL and hit Analyze. Google then gives you a full list of what you’re doing right in terms of page speed and what needs attention. It then tells you how you can fix the problems the tool diagnosed if you’re unsure where to begin. Below is a screenshot that shows how it works:

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 6.46.51 PM


  • Size your images. This also has to do with design, but either way it’s crucial. Use the right type of image (.gif, .jpg, .png) and always adjust your image displays. This not only refers to size, but also to pixilation. A good rule of thumb is 325X550 pixels.
  • You may have too many plugins. I recommend using the P3 tool to see if your plugins are affecting your load time. Remember that some plugins are larger than others, so it’s not just quantity but also quality.

2. Improving Navigation

  • Use breadcrumbs. This is a plugin you can use that helps customers see where they’ve been on your website so far so they don’t get lost. In other words, they can easily jump back to the beginning of all of their research if they find themselves getting too deep into something else. The best way to understand how breadcrumbs work is by looking at a screenshot. As you can see, it’s easy to jump around your website this way.

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 6.47.08 PM


  • Use internal linking. Internal linking is not only great for your SEO, but it helps customers find related links easily. In short, internal linking means linking to another page on your own website. Use internal linking only when relevant.
  • Use a Related Articles plugin. This is another plugin that can help customers find related articles, so the idea is very similar to internal linking. You don’t need to do anything here; the plugin will pull related articles for you and put them at the bottom of every blog post. Below shows how this looks on a Salesforce blog post:

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 6.47.15 PM

  • Avoid Flash. It’s been the norm for a while now, but websites are still attempting to use Flash. This simply won’t work for many of your customers, so it’s best to avoid it altogether (it hinders load time as well).
  • Include a search bar. At any given time customers should be able to search so they don’t get frustrated trying to find something or trying to get back to a page with a search bar.

Website Content: Homepage, Blog, About Us, and Contact Pages

Your website is full of different kinds of content, so we’ve split this up into two sections. What these four pages have in common is the fact that they are not necessarily trying to sell anything. These are informative pages, and while there are ways you can optimize them to send people to your sales pages (see here for tips), they are by and large there to educate. A few tips to improve these pages include:

  • Always have a place for comments. The homepage doesn’t really apply, but opening up your website for comments shows that you’re approachable. Make sure you stay on top of comments and respond appropriately, but offering this line of communication whenever possible is a great feature for customers.
  • Use different content types. This includes video, infographics, interviews, polls, product reviews, and more. This is something that works best for your blog (no surprise there), but you can also get creative on the other pages as well. For example, check out some cool About Us pages here.
  • Spend time on CTAs and Headlines. A customer has the best experience when they know what to click and what they’re getting themselves into if they click. Your CTAs and headlines will help give you this trustworthiness and help keep things interesting.

Checkout and/or Thank You Page Tips

So the first pages in your sales funnel are usually education pages such as blog posts, email marketing campaigns, social campaigns, etc. after you have created awareness and interest. Next come your checkout pages and your Thank You pages.

1. Checkout Pages

  • Keep it short. According to a KISSmetrics article, 4 steps is a good length for a checkout process. Get their email and information, card information, include a review page with shipping details, and you’re done.
  • Use breadcrumbs here as well. Always let customers know where they are in the process to keep them engaged. This helps reduce anxiety and lets customers know what to expect. Target does this well as you can see below (also notice they only have a 4 step process):

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 6.47.26 PM

2. Thank You Pages

  • Use linking wisely. When customers are finished shopping or filing out a quote form, that doesn’t have to mean they’re finished with your website. Make it easy for them to click to something else you offer by putting links to some of your most popular content and landing pages. If they don’t want to click no big deal, but at least they have the option. Notice how Punchbowl uses links and related articles (as well as our next point, social media buttons):

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 6.47.37 PM

  • Use social media buttons. Make it easy for customers to share what they just purchased on social media by including social media buttons here. This is something many businesses forget, but it can be a win-win for everyone.

Extra: We’ve mentioned it in the CX section, but creating a survey/ asking for feedback is a great option. It can help your company better understand your audience and therefore optimize for the future, and while this may fall under the CX side of things when analyzing, it can still provide a good UX on a Thank You page.

Website Metrics to Watch

Google Analytics is likely going to be the best place you can go for data. While it’s a good idea to use other tools so that you can cross-reference and really come up with conclusions, Google Analytics is the place to start. While the possibilities are endless, in terms of UX there are a few reports you can follow:

1. Click Through Rate (CTR)/ Traffic

This report shows how many people clicked certain pages, or in other words, how much traffic pages earned. This can help show you which pages are getting the most attention and therefore help you mimic the design and content of those pages; thus providing a better UX based on real facts from your actual audience.

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 6.47.44 PM

2. Completed Goals

This is a report where customization helps. Let’s say you want someone to make subscribe to your blog after visiting a particular blog post you wrote. You can actually track that in your Google Analytics to see how many people completed that goal that you set. Most companies use this when it comes to conversions. If someone lands on a Thank You page, it means they converted, which means they completed one of your goals. You can learn more about setting up goals here.

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 6.47.54 PM

3. Bounce Rate

Your bounce rate metrics show how quickly someone left a given page without interacting—commenting, clicking an internal links, signing up for a newsletter, etc.—with that page. In other words, if someone visits a page and clicks the “back” button within three seconds, this is recorded. If they click an external link, simply X out of their browser, type a new URL into their browser, or spend 30 minutes on your page without any action, this also counts as bounce rate. You can find the bounce rate metrics on just about any report.

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 6.48.02 PM

The problem with the bounce rate report is that sometimes if someone stays on your page for a long time but did not interact then you may think that page is no good. This will lead you to change the content, stop mimicking what that page is doing, etc. However, this could still mean that you actually wrote great content because someone actually read it. For this reason, you may want to adjust your bounce rate, which you can learn more about here.


Reviews are actually a little bit more CX than UX, but they can still help visitors make decisions while online, so it’s worth mentioning. A few quick ways to encourage reviews include:

  • Put a “Review” link on your website or homepage so that it’s easy. In a way you’re essentially asking for a review without having to bother your customers.
  • Include a link to a review page within an email marketing campaign.
  • Always make it easy to review. Avoid making customers fill out any forms!
  • Put reviews and testimonials on your website so that people can see that their thoughts matter (as well as see what others have to say).
  • Utilize social media to ask for reviews.
  • Remember: Bad reviews will come up, so always be sure to manage your reviews and respond when necessary.

You can also check out this article to learn more about different review platforms including social media, Google reviews, Yelp, blog post reviews, and more, as well more ways you can foster more customer reviews.

Offer incentives for recommendations

Beyond the obvious benefit of having your offering recommended to potential customers, this is also a good way to gather recommendation metrics. Whether or not someone will recommend your brand without the incentive is something that can be tested. Consider offering something like a free eBook download to see if incentives work with your customers.

Your Turn

Above mentions the basics to get you started and help things seem less overwhelming. I recommend first starting with some of these basics and getting a good structure in place, and then researching further how you can better get creative every step of the way for UX. Once you give it a try, let us know if you have any questions or comments below.

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Brand name bidding: should you buy ads for your brand terms?

Why do brands bid on their own brand terms? Is it a good idea, or a bad one? Aren’t you just paying for traffic that you’d otherwise get for free?
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Friday, 4 December 2015

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Bing reveals the top US and UK searches of 2015

It’s okay everyone, it’s December, we’re allowed to publish end of year lists now. Here are the top searches from 2015...
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How to create custom segments in Google Analytics

Segments allow marketers to interrogate Google Analytics data more effectively in a way that suits their business needs. This post explains how to create segments.
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5 of the Best Social Media Viral Campaigns of 2015

Each year there are new viral campaigns on social media and on the web and each year there are new things to learn. By analyzing some of the top marketing plans (or accidents) you can start to understand what works with audiences and how audiences change year after year. Going viral can be tough (which you can learn more about here), but some of the elements that helped these viral campaigns can still potentially help give yours that extra boost you’ve been looking as we gear up for a New Year.

Keep in mind as well that viral campaigns don’t always have to be on Facebook, where they seem to pop up most often. Companies are getting creative with different mediums, so it’s important to explore those as well. Therefore, below shows 5 of the top campaigns we saw in 2015 on 5 different social media platforms that aren’t Facebook:

Dove: Choose Beautiful YouTube Campaign

As you can see, this campaign was centered on giving women the choice to walk through a door that says “average” or a door that says “beautiful.” It’s an interesting campaign because it concludes with all women wishing they had said beautiful like some of their peers. This hammers in Dove’s idea of real beauty and what that means.

What makes this campaign so great is the fact that is appeals to the emotions of their target audience. It is relatable and it makes you think, “what door would I have chosen?” What’s cool is that then after asking these questions you start to think about the importance of real beauty (and what do you know, that’s Dove’s tagline). It got away from advertising the product and advertised something that relates to everyone. Whether you think you’re beautiful or not, you fit into one category which makes this ad relevant.

The Last Selfie: World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on Snapchat

The idea behind this campaign is to bring awareness to the animal populations at risk of going extinct around the world. WWF knew that they have a global audience and they needed to reach that audience, and snapchat was the perfect place to do that. According to Ittisa, “the whole idea behind WWF using Snapchat was to emphasize the fact that endangered species are disappearing around the world just as selfies disappear from Snapchat in 10 seconds.” Even if you didn’t think of that when you saw the campaign, the press let us know this reasoning which helped bring another layer to the campaign entirely. In fact, it was one of the 2015 Webby Award winners.


This is one campaign that really stuck out to me personally because of the imagery. It catches your attention because of the vibrant images, the relatable (and sad) taglines, and the way that they manage to mesh something as meanlingless as selfies next to animals that need our help. They also use a hashtag to help get the campaign going, which helped bring the campaign from Snapchat to other social networks.

Always: #LikeAGirl on Twitter

This is probably the most popular one on our list. The video shows the limiting way that so many people think of girls and women without even realizing it. For example, at one point a boy is asked to “run like a girl,” and he acts weak. The actresses and actors think they’re trying to audition for something, and get a rude awakening. When young girls were asked the same question, the young girls ran with power and excitement. So where do things change? According to women, they tend to lose confidence around puberty, which coincides perfectly with the feminine product and really makes us all think: Why?

Although it originally aired at the Superbowl, the campaign continued to trend on various social accounts, large part through the #LikeAGirl hashtag. The content of the campaign is perfect here because it makes you think about an issue in a completely different way by showing different age groups of women so we can see where things start to go wrong. The content makes us agree with the message while scratching our heads wondering why we never thought about it that way before. To no one’s surprise, #LikeAGirl started trending on Twitter, was re-tweeted by several celebrities, and before you knew it the video was viewed more than 85 million times, 30 million of those the first week it was released.

As a side note, Always continued to keep the campaign going by creating more, similar videos, which I highly recommend checking out on their page here.

Mercedes-Benz USA: Build a GLA on Instagram

So this one was slightly before 2015, but 2015 is when it really started to take off. This campaign allowed people to customize a car right on Instagram from everything down to color, rims, windows, and more.

Interaction was the main focus of this campaign. They gave the audience an outlet to be creative without having to actually leave the outlet they were already using (Instagram). This got them over 100,000 likes and nearly 20,000 new followers. It’s likely that their younger audience told others about the car they created, which got others to want to get involved. It obviously worked brilliantly.

Ex Machina on Tinder

This was a campaign that I heard about from someone who attended the SXSW festival back in March, and it quickly became viral and was shared on multiple social platforms. At the festival, there was a woman named Avo on the Tinder dating app that was speaking very similarly to the woman in the movie Ex Machina. You could actually interact with her, even though she was supposed to be a robot!


What is particularly interesting about this campaign is the fact that it is for a movie. Movies already have their way of getting a lot of publicity so you may not feel this can relate to your business, but what they did was create a viral campaign that simply used the movie, not to advertise it per se. As a small business, you can do something similar if you’re able to use your products to get people to relate and spark interest. Tinder may be a tough one, but do something cool at an event and create a hashtag for the same outcome.

Are there any campaigns that you think should be added to the list? Any lessons you’ve learned or personal experiences to share? Let us know your thoughts and your story in the comment section below.

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Introducing a new type of search event: ‘Connect’

We’ve launched a brand new search event, Connect, taking place on the beach this Feb 4-5 at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne in Miami.
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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Guide to social media image sizes [infographic]

Here are all the image sizes you need to optimize your social profiles for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and more...
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8 Staggering Statistics about This Holiday Season’s Rush and 3 Ways to React

As companies have realized in years past Black Friday deals extend to online shoppers. Because black Friday comes before Cyber Monday, there has been a pretty even competition between two of the busiest shopping days of the year, so although it’s no secret that online shopping is the new thing (and we would expect to see more activity than Black Friday), the number were still a little bit staggering. The most shocking of them all? Thanksgiving was thrown into the mix this year as a solid contender with some very interesting trends.

If you didn’t hear, below are the numbers we saw this past week for various sources regarding the three “holidays” and their success:

  • E-commerce search spend rose 19.6 percent on Thanksgiving this year –Kenshoo
  • Cyber Monday online sales topped $3 billion, setting the record for the biggest day of online sales in US history. This is an increase of 16 percent from last year, and we saw 200 million visits to 4,500 retail websites all generating $3.07 billion. –Adobe
  • The average order value among advertisers on its platform hit $134, just below the $137 average seen on Black Friday –HookLogic
  • On Cyber Monday, Smartphones drove 43 percent of traffic and 24 percent of sales with an average conversion rate of 3.04 percent. –ChannelAdvisor
  • In-store retail sales dropped by $1.2 billion on Thanksgiving and $2 million on Thanksgiving. –ABC News
  • On Cyber Monday, E-Commerce revenue rose 16.2 percent from a year ago. –Custora

As you can see, Cyber Monday was really where all of the major statistics happened. I recommend checking out this article from MarketingLand to see even more statistics about that day in particular if you’re interested in how this differed by industry and device.

What This All Means to You and Your Online Holiday Shopping Strategy

So now that the year is over it’s time to focus on your general holiday shopping, which should still last about another month. But what can you learn from this year’s numbers? There are a few things you should be doing now in preparation for next year:

  1. Remember that your data in Google Analytics isn’t going to show you anything past 90 days. This means that you can still wait for the holiday rush to end to gather those numbers, but don’t wait too long. You will want to have an idea of the trends that your specific company saw so that you can be prepared with the right product offers, email marketing campaigns, content, and more at the right times.
  2. We all know that mobile is crucial, but you shouldn’t forget tablets. Having a responsive web design is a start, but actually optimizing for tablets is also important, which you can learn more about here. According to the same ChannelAdvisor report, tablets drove 12 percent of Cyber Monday traffic with 11 percent of sales and a 5.41 average conversion rate. Not bad considering the staggering total numbers mentioned above.
  3. Display ads are crucial. They drove 57 percent more sales compared to Cyber Monday last year, so if you put more of a focus on other areas of your holiday strategy that’s great, but next year ramp up the display ads. If you’re unfamiliar with how they work, check out the official Google Support page to learn more and this article to make sure they get approved.

Is there anything that you would add to the list of lessons you can learn from the holiday numbers there year? Were there any other interesting statistics that we missed that we should add to the list? Let us know in the comment section below.

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The importance of user reviews for local SEO

Reviews are a massive part of the web now, and an absolute essential for online retailers.
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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Growth by 1,000 hacks: why micro tests are the key to growth hacking success

An article from Intercom’s Ben McRedmond about growth hacking has been doing the rounds over the past week or so.
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Why do you have a website? Balancing your site's intentions with the visitor experience

What seems like quite a straightforward and possibly ridiculous question is meant as a 'gut-check that shouldn’t just be identified only once by an organization, but periodically over time.
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