Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

7 Ways to Take Your Outreach Pitch from Good to Great

Today’s guest post comes from Brad Shorr, the B2B Marketing Director of Straight North, a SEO agency headquartered near Chicago. Brad writes frequently on content marketing, SEO and social media.

Publishers are inundated with spammy content pitches 24/7/365. Thanks to the plethora of pitiful pitch slingers, a good pitch from a serious SEO is no longer good enough; it takes a great pitch to get the attention of busy, successful publishers.

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Being a writer, a publisher and part of our agency’s SEO group, I see content pitches from all sides. Based on that experience, here are several suggestions to transform your good pitches into great ones.

 

1. Pitch seasonal topics

Many publishers crave seasonally themed topics, and pitch slingers don’t take the time to develop them. A few examples using the Halloween theme:

  • For a dental site, an article about healthy alternatives to Halloween candy.
  • For a DIY site, an article about how to make your own costume out of recycled materials.
  • For a small business site, 10 scary things a customer can say.

outreach-1

Bonus tip: Pitch your seasonal topics early, so publishers have enough time to review them – and you have enough time to follow up. November is a good time to be developing and pitching topics for New Year’s.

 

2. Include links to relevant work samples

Most publishers are more impressed with what you’ve done than with what you’ve claimed. A link or two showing off your best work, relevant if possible, adds enormous credibility to your pitch.

 

3. Use a referral

If your pitch kicks off with so-and-so suggested you contact him or her, you immediately separate yourself from the pitch-slinging pack. Of course, the effectiveness of a referral hinges on the clout of the referrer. Good places to cultivate referrals include:

  • Prominent bloggers of content in the same or related niche
  • Readers of the target publisher’s blog
  • The target publisher’s social media connections

Cultivating referrals takes time; great pitch preparation means spending a lot of time networking on social media sites to deepen your understanding of the target publisher’s online community.

 

4. Be clear and concise

Too many pitches beat around the bush. Respect that publishers are busy, and tell them exactly what you propose in as few words as possible. Always close with a specific and clear question, such as, “Would you like us to begin writing this article for you?” If the publisher has to think about how to respond – you won’t get a response.

 

 5. Don’t always ask for the same response

With some high-profile publishers, breaking the ice before getting into a specific pitch is the best first step. We’ve been successful reaching out to a publisher mainly to say we really enjoyed or really benefitted from an article on his or her site. The “soft close” on an email like this might be to ask if the publisher is interested in discussing ideas for a submission.

 

6. Watch the details

Publishers look for reasons not to respond to your pitch – so don’t give them any easy outs. Review and edit every pitch before it is sent, giving special attention to:

  • Is the publisher’s name spelled correctly?
  • Is the pitch free of grammatical errors?
  • Is the pitch clear and concise?
  • Does the email signature contain the FULL name of the sender, the sender’s title, and the name of the business the sender represents?

outreach-2

Photo taken from: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/31037/5-Real-Life-Examples-of-Awful-PR-Pitches.aspx

7. Think Like a Salesperson

If an SEO activity can be automated, sooner or later it becomes useless – and the same holds true for many other business activities. Mechanical, assembly-line pitches cannot succeed with high-quality publishers, nor do those pitch results generate good organic visibility.

The key to successful pitching is getting away from assembly-line thinking and instead, operating like a sales superstar. Superstars treat every prospect like the only prospect. They research the prospect and his or her work situation in depth to understand the decision-making dynamics. They concentrate on a handful of great prospects rather than trying to juggle 100 opportunities.

This formula leads to fewer links than an assembly-line approach, but far better ones. And today, quality, not quantity moves the SEO dial.

Want to learn more about pitching bloggers and journalists? Check out our Outreach Tips from Bloggers and How to Pitch Journalists posts.

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How to Find and Review Link Building Opportunities with Moz’s Open Site Explorer and BuzzStream

Moz recently released a new section of Open Site Explorer to help people find link building opportunities. There are three sections:

  1. Reclaim Links – finds pages on your site that have 3XX, 4XX, and 5XX errors
  2. Unlinked Mentions – leverages Fresh Web Explorer to find other sites that have mentioned (but not linked to) your site
  3. Link Intersect - lets you plug in two competitors to find sites that are linking to both of those competitors but not you

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 11.05.12 AM

Moz’s redesigned Open Site Explorer.

 

These new features are great tools for finding opportunities. The next step of the process – reviewing sites to decide whether or not they’re a good fit – is where BuzzStream can help.

Using BuzzStream’s BuzzMarker for Chrome extension, you’ll be able to quickly jump from site to site, adding only the best opportunities to your account. BuzzStream will automatically discover contact information for you, and you can send outreach as you go.

 

How to Review & Qualify Link Building Opportunities

To take advantage of Moz’s new OSE features, you’ll need to have a Moz Pro account. Enter your domain, and navigate to “Link Opportunities” in the menu on the left.

 

OSE2

In Open Site Explorer, click on “Link Opportunities” in the menu on the left.

Choose the Type of Opportunity You Want

From there, choose which type of opportunity you want to pursue. For external link building opportunities we can look at either the Unlinked Mentions or the Link Intersect tab. We’ll use the Unlinked Mentions tab today.

Moz automatically builds a Fresh Web Explorer query for you and brings in a list of sites that have mentioned your brand or website name, but have not yet linked to you.

Use BuzzStream to Create a Prospecting List

You can use these results to create a prospecting list. The prospecting list will let you review each of the websites, and add only the best ones to your BuzzStream account. To begin, right click on the results and navigate to “Create a Prospecting List.”

OSE3

Right click on the results and choose “Create a prospecting list.” 

Filter the Prospecting List

BuzzStream will scrape all the results and organize them into a list. You can review the list and remove any sites you already know won’t be a good fit. You can also filter the list to only include sites that aren’t already in your account. When you’re ready, hit “Start Prospecting.”

OSE4

BuzzStream organizes all the links into a list. You can filter and edit this list before you begin prospecting.

Review Opportunities and Add the Best Ones

Once you hit Start Prospecting, BuzzStream will open in a new tab and take you from site to site. You can look for the opportunities that are a fit for your brand, and add those websites to your account. BuzzStream will automatically discover contact information for you.

 

OSE5BuzzStream will take you from site to site, and automatically discover contact information for you.

Send Outreach to the Best Prospects

If you’re ready to start sending emails, you can add a site to your account and then hit the outreach button in the BuzzMarker. Start with a template or start from scratch, personalize your message, and hit send.

OSE8c

When you find a good opportunity, you can send outreach directly from the BuzzMarker.

More Resources

For more on Moz, BuzzStream, and how they work together, check out the following resources:

If you have a BuzzStream account but haven’t yet installed the Chrome extensions, you can get it hereIf you don’t yet have a BuzzStream account, you can try it for free.

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Case Study: Building Links in the Travel Industry

Today’s post comes from Shawn Cohen of Standing Dog Interactive, a full service digital agency in Dallas, Texas.  

The travel and hospitality industry is inspiring to work in: you know you’re helping travelers reach their destination and once they get there, you are there to ensure that they will have the best time of their lives.

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Case Study: Building Links in the Travel Industry

However, it’s a crowded digital space with a lot of limitations. Depending on the brand, content, budget, and time can all be tight restrictions on SEO link building campaigns. That means we have to think creatively about where to find reputable sites that will link to individual properties that have tiny SEO budgets, run of the mill content, and just a few hours of linking time per year.

Yes, that’s right—a few hours of linking time per year.

With these limitations in mind, we’re pulling back the curtain on how we’ve built thousands of reputable links for hundreds of hotel properties since the founders of our hospitality-oriented agency opened up shop nine years ago.

Case Study: Vacations by Marriott

First, though, we’d like to bring your attention to a case study of a more sophisticated travel and hospitality link building campaign we did for Vacations by Marriott, the official travel package program of Marriott International. (more…)

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How to Kick the Habit of Reporting Like a Link Builder

Today’s post comes from Trung Ngo, SEO Strategist at Red Door Interactive. Find him on Twitter @trungvngo or his personal blog, upstreamist.co, where he writes about outreach marketing, SEO, and productivity.

The TL;DR Version

Outreach marketing aligns the client’s brand with people who have the ability to influence consumer preference in the respective industry. Links are just the cherry on top.

Here’s what we need to include in outreach marketing campaign performance reports to better communicate our value:

  • Impressions and engagement on brand-related influencer tweets using TweetReach
  • Social shares and total count of comments on brand-related articles from influencers using URL Profiler
  • Comparison of outreach response rates and campaign goal completion rates for influencers with whom we have a pre-existing relationship to those where we do not have an existing relationship using data from BuzzStream

This data makes for a more compelling report and paves the way for a more strategic conversation about outreach marketing. Below is a sample report:

lb-report Sample link building report

How to Kick the Habit of Reporting Like a Link Builder

A lot of SEOs, like myself, branched off into outreach marketing by way of link building. In linking building campaigns, the primary KPI is, well, links. So that’s what we reported on and that’s how clients measured success.

Outreach marketing has grown beyond link building, but our reporting has not evolved to match. Links do not accurately reflect the value of our efforts, but they’re still, in large part, what we tend to focus on in reports.

Don’t get me wrong, links are valuable and should be reported on. But they should be accompanied by the following:

  • A bigger picture of the earned media generated from outreach marketing
  • The quality of impressions gained as determined by audience engagement
  • The value of developing a relationship with industry influencers

These are the important aspects of outreach marketing that are underrepresented in reports. Without them, we are limited to conversations about page and domain authority, anchor text, and the number of links we gain from campaigns. While important, these metrics are an inaccurate portrayal of our contributions; at best, incomplete.

Outreach marketing aligns the client’s brand with people who have the ability to influence consumer preference in the respective industry. Links are just the cherry on top.

That’s the conversation we should be having with clients. But it won’t happen unless we change how we talk about what we do, and it starts with better reporting.

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Promoting Interactive Content: Getting Ahead of the Content Marketing Pack

In 2013, the most popular pieces of content on both BuzzFeed and the New York Times had something in common.

Was it that they were well-research pieces by respected journalists? No. In fact, the NYT piece was created by an intern. Did they break news? Nope, no new news was made. Were they beautiful, Snowfall-like visual constructions? Nope. They were designed from templates.

They were quizzes.  The writing is on the wall: interactive content is the future of content marketing.

 

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But let’s back up a step:

We’re drowning in content.  Absolutely drowning in it. 93% of businesses are doing content marketing, and 99% of software companies (and what seems like 150% of our own special little category of marketing software) are employing it today.  And it is getting worse.

And while I normally write about how content promotion solves this problem, today I want to look at it from another lens: with today’s interactive content, what’s the best way to market it? (I’ll leave making it for another post.)

 

Interactive Content: What it Is

Broadly, interactive content is calculators, quizzes, free tools, and other things of that nature that users can interact with – instead of just read.

Examples

BuzzFeed & NYT Quizzes

In 2013, the most popular piece of content on both the New York Times and Buzzfeed was a quiz. On both the Grey Lady, inventor of journalistic objectivity, and the new publishing upstart best at pushing viral buttons with lists, an interactive quiz was the most popular piece of content.

Let’s unpack these a little more:

Because you are alive and have an internet connection, you have likely seen a BuzzFeed quiz.

BuzzFeed offered the quiz “Which Pink Lady Are You?”, helping users understand, well, which female character from the movie Grease they should be. It was one of the most shared pieces of content in 2013.

In 2014, they came aback at quizzes in a big way with a new graphic layout, leading to winners like “Which City Should You Actually Live In.”

BuzzFeed- What city should you live in?

These graphically oriented quizzes put up some great traffic numbers:

Traffic history

Referral Breakdown

How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk

The New York Times created this amazing, incredibly popular quiz about language patterns in the United States:

Sunday Review

This twenty-question quiz was shared millions of times, and was one of the most popular pieces of content on the New York Times website in 2013.  It was created by graduate student intern Josh Katz, based on the 10-year old Harvard Dialect Survey.

Unknown

In the nation’s most influential paper, which regularly breaks real news and hosts some of the best and most sough-after journalists alive today, the most popular piece of online content was a quiz, created by an intern from 10 year old public data.

 

How Americans Die

Bloomberg published a remarkable interactive data visualization on death in America:

How Americans die

While it didn’t put up the amazing numbers the previous two samples did, it definitely meaningfully outperformed other content on Bloomberg:

How Americans Die #2

 

Why Interactive Content?

So we know that interactive content can be very successful – particularly if we include final states people can share that show their own identity to their peers on social networks. (In some ways, BuzzFeed can be thought of as a venture-backed experiment in social networks and identity behavior.)

This content has several key advantages:

It Sticks Out

Useful and fun tools have not been beaten to death yet by marketers, unlike, say, infographics, ebooks, white papers, and everything that came before them. When you see one, it is still novel, different, and potentially delightful.

It Can Be Evergreen

This is huge – these things can keep on giving MUCH longer than a traditional blog post. They’re new every time people visit.  Effectively moving to interactive content can help publishers create pieces that last a long time, instead of hits driven pieces.

As Summer Anne Burton, managing editorial director of BuzzFeed, said:

“We had been making quizzes slowly, but nothing crazy. Then, around the end of last year, I was looking at some stats and what posts had done really well. Our most shared post was this quiz called “Which ‘Grease’ Pink Lady Are You?” that Louis Peitzman in L.A. did. It had not been a big hit when it was first published, but it had this super long tail.

I had noticed a couple other things like that — posts that were quiz-related or quizzes that had a second life. “

If you’re a working content marketer, you know that consistently coming up with new material and “feeding the beast” is a major challenge. Well-architected interactive tools gie you a chance to step off the treadmill and create a system.

 

They can be designed with a UX that drives conversion

Calculators like this one and other similar pieces can not only attract traffic and serve the top of the funnel, but can also show people relevant offers and drive visitors through the funnel.  I would expect to see more interactive experiences that show off merchandise or offers in the next 12 months.

For example, Julep, the Seattle-based A16Z funded nail polish company uses a quiz to help new users discover their style profile, and sign up for an appropriate package:

Julep

 

Building a Data Asset for Future Work

When people fill out these quizzes and interact with these pieces, that data can go somewhere.  The low-end version of this is taking email addresses and adding them to your list.

The more elaborate version of this is adding this quiz data to a cookie or persistent identifier associated with the user.  This can be a game changer for lead scoring or personalization, and I expect this to be become a pretty typical marketing technique in 2-3 years.

Scott Brinker of the Marketing Technologist Blog has written extensively on this topic as well. He’s even betting his whole company on them:

Marketing Interactive Assets

While the creation of these interactive assets is dramatically beyond the scope of the article (and left to the reader), some of what I’ve observed in seeing people promote these universally applicable.

Think About How People Will Link To, Mention, or Feature Your Piece

Often I see marketers pitch interactives without thinking about how the linking/featuring site will post it.  Most journalists and content creators know how to feature images and studies – but how do you feature a quiz, a calculator, or an interactive multi-part graphic?

Consider making versions that are easy to embed and look great – either a version of the interactive that can be embedded (which you may or may not want to do depending on your marketing objectives), or good images or animated gifs of the tool’s operation.  Then you can make it as easy as possible for your outreach prospects to feature you.

Make Sure Your Device Support and Your Promotion Plan Are Aligned

The rise of the multi-device world has really caught a lot of marketers by surprise and can cause some interesting issues in content promotion.

For example, much of the inventory available on some ad units good for content promotion, like Twitter ads, is mobile. If your piece of interactive content isn’t mobile friendly, you might very well find yourself with an expensive fail if you use them without segmenting to desktop/tablet only.  (I often play a game of clicking on promoted Tweets on my mobile phone and seeing if it leads to a responsive page or not.)

In a perfect world, marketers would have lots of technical resources and get everything working perfectly on every device. (If you’ve worked in more than one or two marketing organizations, you’re probably laughing quietly to yourself at this statement.) But we do not live in such a world – so if you don’t support mobile devices, make sure you don’t unintentionally end up pushing mobile traffic at the piece.

Pitch the Value, Not the Tool

When marketing technology products, marketers are classically told to focus on benefits and advantages instead of features.  Marketers still focus on features, and people still say this, so this is something of an existential problem in marketing.

But whenever marketers get something new, they often get lost in the shinyness and forget about the customer value they’re communicating.

This cognitive bias has two factors:

  • Often people are so excited to do a quiz or an interactive, they forget the editorial and results fall flat.  These still need the same level of knowledge and editorial care and planning that would go into a whitepaper or an ebook.
  • A quiz in and of itself isn’t that novel – pitch the value rather than the technology.

 

You Still Need a Campaign Launch Plan

While this will be a familiar concept to readers of BuzzStream material (we even created a guide about it), even the best pieces of interactive content need a promotion plan and  alaunch plan, ideally across paid, owned, and earned media.

Conclusion

While the New York Times and BuzzFeed don’t have much in common, they’re both succeeding with interactive content.  As interactive content trickles down to marketers,we’ll see this employed more and more, with varying degrees of success.  While the challenge of interactive content is largely in its creation, marketing it effectively is still extremely important, and reducing friction and creating promotion plans are needed to achieve the full ROI of these strategies.

 

 

 

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Using BuzzStream to Avoid Disavowed or Blacklisted Domains

Today’s post on keeping track of disavowed and blacklisted domains comes from BuzzStream customer and friend, Martin Woods of WMG

It’s blindingly obvious that you shouldn’t make the same mistakes twice, especially when it comes to a Google penalty. According to Matt Cutts, the consequences for the second breach of their terms & conditions are even more severe than the first.

Google

But how do you keep a track of all the websites and contacts which you don’t want to work with? It’s especially hard when you are a large outreach team working on multiple campaigns at the same time, as it’s vital to keep everyone working holistically.

Typically if you have completed one or more Google Disavow files, you will have a long list of sites which at best will offer no link value and at worst could land you with another Google penalty. This guide will show you how to store, manage and use a list of websites and people whom you do not want to be affiliated with in any way.

This data can then be used with the new BuzzMarker Chrome Extension to quickly identify blacklisted domains that shouldn’t be contacted when you and your team are browsing websites.

 

Eliminate risk using BuzzStream to flag blacklisted domains

BuzzStream to the rescue!

One of our biggest challenges and our biggest opportunities is to make data more accessible across our business. That’s why we at WMG use BuzzStream to record and store our contacts, making the data more accessible across our teams and easier to use to inform campaigns and decision making.

 

Keeping things structured and tidy in BuzzStream

Before I explain how you can use Buzzstream to flag/blacklist domains and contacts with whom you do not want to work with, I will explain how our team structures our BuzzStream account. (Editor’s note: Since BuzzStream is so customizable, your account and project setup may be structured differently than WMG’s.)

As a large SEO agency such as ours with hundreds of clients and thousands of projects, we need to keep BuzzStream obsessively tidy. I personally recommend the following structure to keep things easy to find:

Orange indicates a folder and blue indicates a project.

Archived (Old Clients)

  • %client name%
    • %project url%
      • %client name%-%project url%-%date created%-%project number%-%project name%

Clients

  • BuzzStream
    • Buzzstream.com
      • BuzzStream-buzzstream.com-2014-05-#4-Existing Customers

Prospect Lists by Niche
Internal Projects
z Domain Blacklist/ Approved List (I use a-z to sort this folder to the bottom)

  • BLACKLIST OF DOMAINS
  • APPROVED LIST OF DOMAINS

 

The advantage of using this structure is that it’s easy to move clients and projects around, and it’s nice and simple for our outreach team to understand which project they’re working on. We also use a campaign planner that generates folder and project names based on strict naming conventions; this ensures that law and order are maintained within our BuzzStream account.

01

BuzzStream filter system

Create custom fields for websites to record why a domain has been blacklisted or whitelisted

We use custom fields in BuzzStream to create checkboxes that describe the reason why a person or domain has been either blacklisted or whitelisted. This ensures everyone in the future will know exactly why the site does or doesn’t meet our quality standards and why they should or shouldn’t make contact.

 

02

Customize fields settings

For clarity, I have two separate custom fields. The first is for why the domain was flagged under a blacklist, and the second for if the team have reviewed a flagged domain, but only found something small (like some comment spam). After all, we wouldn’t want to not work with someone like the BBC because of a link disavowed at the URL level.

Blacklist Custom Field – “Does the Domain Break Our Link Quality Guideline Issues?”

 

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A custom checkbox field for use in clarifying why a site hasn’t passed our quality control settings

Whitelist Custom Field – “Passed Quality Control”

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– A custom field for when (date) the site passed a quality control review

Create two separate projects for the blacklist & white listed domains

I recommend creating two separate projects;

  1. ‘APPROVED LIST OF DOMAINS’ (previously flagged in a blacklist for some reason).
  2. ‘BLACKLIST OF DOMAINS’ (if you name your folder starting with a ‘z’ it will filter to the bottom of the list keeping it out of the way).
05

Blacklist/whitelist projects

Create website type & relationship stage – “Previously Blacklisted”

I like to flag a domain in as many ways as possible to reduce the chance of mistakes when it comes to domains which break our quality guidelines. Therefore I also create a custom Relationship Stage -“Rejected / Blacklisted Domain” and a new Website Type – “Previously Blacklisted/Disavowed” to make it crystal clear to anyone looking in the project in the future.

 

06

Custom Website Types

A domain can only have one relationship stage and one website type (via Dropdown) at any one time, so there is no confusion. Then, if the domain is cleared in the future it can then be changed to the correct ‘Website Type’ global identifier.

 

Upload a single domain which you would like to blacklist

The reason for adding only one domain at this stage is that we are going to be uploading potentially several thousand domains (depending on your Disavow/blacklist), and it’s best to upload it as a CSV rather than trying to import via copy & paste.

Select “Add from List of URLS” and enter one of your domains which you would like to blacklist.

 

07

Select “Add from List of URLs” to import a domain to blacklist

Make sure that you select the relevant data (see below), at this stage it is also possible to add a Tag to the website which we’re importing. You can do this now, or at a later stage. I suggest tagging it in capitals to make it stand out from your other tags used to identify a domain. E.g. PREVIOUSLY DISAVOWED/BLACKLISTED DOMAIN.

08

Mark the domain with any relevant information

If you have forgotten to categorise anything don’t worry, that is the beauty of BuzzStream, we can do it later!

 

Export the BLACKLIST OF DOMAINS project

 

09

Exporting websites from a project in BuzzStream

At the moment there is currently only one domain to export, but in the future if you wanted to export all the domains then you can do this by clicking the check box above the one highlighted in red and clicking the ‘Select all’ link.

Select the following columns to export:

  • Website Domain
  • Website Type
  • Tags
  • Relationship Stage
  • Does The Domain Break Our Link Quality Guideline Issues?

Add a list of all the domains which you want to blacklist

10

Add the rest of your disavowed domains to your database export

Be careful to only add domains you want to blacklist and not URLs of particular pages, if you have any of these in your Disavow file.

Free Excel Tool – Disavow file to whitelist cross-checked blacklist

The majority of people will most likelyuse a Disavow file as a source for their BuzzStream blacklist. I have created a small Excel tool which automatically convert your disavow file into a BuzzStream friendly list of domains which you can copy straight into your exported BuzzStream (Figure 10). This will stop any risk of disavowing domains which you have in a white list, or that you haven’t disavowed at domain level.

 

11

Disavow list to blacklist tool

To use this tool, paste the list of rows from your disavow file into the red cells, copy all the rows in the green cells and then paste these into the A Column of your BuzzStream export.

Flag the added domains

Now it’s time to flag the new domains which we’ve just added from our cleaned Disavow list. Duplicate the cells from row B2 to the end of the named columns (highlighted in Orange) down the page for all the domains which you’ve added.

 

12

Finished populated BuzzStream blacklist database ready re-import

Re-upload the blacklisted domains project back to BuzzStream

Now it’s time to let BuzzStream do all the hard work. We re-upload the file using the ‘Import from Existing File’ option from the ‘Add Websites’ dropdown within the websites tab. Making sure that you have selected the correct project (top left), you don’t want to mix up your list and make it segmented.

13

Import back to project

In the box that pops up select Match My CSV (below) and upload the file.

14

Select the type of template to upload

Select‘Auto-Update Existing Contacts’ and make a final check that you are uploading to the correct project – ‘BLACKLIST OF DOMAINS’

15

Configure the upload

Let’s have a cuppa

Now this is the most important bit, make sure not to miss it out…

Sit back and have a lovely cup of tea, I would personally recommend Yorkshire Tea. This is perhaps one of the best things about working at WMG; we only ever buy Taylors of Harrogate tea! It would be wrong to buy anything else when we’re based in Harrogate with the world famous Betty’s just down the road.

Once BuzzStream has does all the hard work processing the data, you can go in and see the fruits of your labour.

And that’s it

Now you can identify a blacklisted domain in any new project quickly and easily from either within BuzzStream, or using the new and improved BuzzMarker Chrome Extension.

 

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How to identify a previously blacklist domain in BuzzStream

 

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How to identify a blacklisted domain in BuzzMarker. *please note I chose the domain 0000web.com to use as an example because it no longer exists, I am not implying that this domain should be blacklisted.

Conclusion

If you find a domain in your blacklist that shouldn’t be there after reviewing the website again in more depth, you can easily move the domain from your global BLACKLIST project to the APPROVED LIST OF DOMAINS project which we created at the beginning.

If you do this, remove the tags/fields assigned to it that flag it, and populate the custom field which we created called ‘Passed Quality Control’ with a date. This ensures that in future, you’ll know when the domain was whitelisted; domains can change and what was once a good domain can easily become a bad domain…

Happy Outreach!

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3 Ways to Make SEO Reporting Easier

Every SEO I know hates the first day of the month.

Which is funny, because they also get paid on the first of the month.

What makes SEOs so miserable on their pay day? Reporting.

Almost all agencies and many in-house groups spend the first part of the month creating extensive reports of their activities and results.  And almost all of them take tons of time to fill out, are far from actionable, and are rarely billable.

 With that in mind, here are 3 ways to make your SEO reporting simpler, faster, and more effective:

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mozCon 2012: My Takeaways

MozCon 2012 has come and gone and the big topic of the conference was content marketing….shocking, I know. ;)  Overall, the quality of the speakers and content was very strong and it was a great week in Seattle.

What I found interesting was how many of the speakers had seemingly conflicting views. Rand says that SEOs should focus on content instead of links because “the ultimate link building tool is the publish button.”  But Paddy’s take is that Rand’s advice is great if you’re an influencer, but most companies can’t afford not to do link building. Hmmm. Well, maybe Ian Lurie can break the tie for us. Ian’s take?… link building and content marketing don’t even exist as tactics. They’re both just the result of great marketing.   

Well that clears things up. :)

The good news is that when you dig deeper into what each of the speakers was saying, they actually agree much more than they disagree. Whether you’re looking at the link building tactics that Paddy detailed, the big picture thinking in the first half of Ian’s presentation, or Greg Boser’s explanation of BlueGlass’ business model changes, there were common themes.

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Major Product Update: Inline Editing and Customizable Views Are Here!

When it comes to managing relationships with influencers and managing links, people have a love/hate relationship with their spreadsheets.  On the one hand, spreadsheets become impossible to manage as you scale your efforts.  On the other hand, they’re flexible and fast.  So, for us, the trick is building a system that makes it easy for people to scale their efforts without sacrificing any of the speed and flexibility.  With the release of Inline Editing and Customizable Views this week, we think we’ve made a big step towards that goal.

Our customers have played a big role in the development of both of these. They really drove the vision of these as they were being developed.  So thanks to all for your input and insights as BuzzStream continues to evolve. All right, let’s take a closer look.

Inline Editing (See Video)

This is kind of the “2” of a “1-2 Punch” that includes Customizable Views. We’ve added in-line editing to the list view. This is a huge time saver when having to make a few quick edits on the fly. Instead of clicking into each individual record to edit you can do so from the list view. Just click the record you want to edit and update the the fields you need. This makes doing multiple edits a breeze.

Customizable Views (See Video)

Now you can see your Contacts, Media Outlets, Link Partners and Links how you want. Select the columns you want to see, and move those columns where you want them be. We’ve made it super-easy to customize the “list view” of all your information so you can work with it how you want to. This is our first stab at it and we will be refining as we go.

Other Quick Fixes and Changes

Twitter Messages

Fixed a small bug that was effecting the collection of Tweets between you and your contacts.

Blank BuzzMarker

Our beloved BuzzMarker would show up blank when reaching your Contact or Link Partner limit during BuzzMarking. You will now receive a handy prompt to upgrade your account.

Relationship Stage Updating

The relationship stage was not updating for individual records copied across multiple projects.

Better Delete Messaging

We’ve cleared up some of the messaging in the product to make it more clear when you’re deleting a contact and when you’re just removing it from a project.

Twitter ID’s in the BuzzMarker

Fixed a small issue where “twitter.com/profilename” was being marked as the Twitter ID.

Twitter OAuth Verification Fail Message

You will now get a friendly error message when Twitter fails to link your Twitter account to BuzzStream.

Import Feature Loading Faster

We were experiencing a little lag time after clicking “Import” and the feature opening up. We thought it was a bit annoying, so we fixed it.

Faster Tag Loading

If you have a bunch of Tags things may have slowed down a bit for you when you needed to edit tags in bulk, edit a records’ details or use the BuzzMarker. We put in a fix to speed things up.

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3 Ways to Improve Your Blog's Search Engine Rankings

Look out! It’s a guest post by Elisa Gabbert. She is the Content Development Manager at WordStream, a provider of advanced SEO tools for researching, organizing and grouping large numbers head, mid and long tail keywords. Elisa is a frequent contributor to the WordStream Internet Marketing Blog and you can follow her on Twitter: @eGabbert. Now go ahead and dig in.

Even if your business has embraced search engine optimization (SEO) techniques for its website, your corporate blog may be less than optimized. Because of the fly-by-night nature of blogs (posts go live quickly and then quickly disappear below the fold), it’s tempting to short-change or skip over SEO.

But it’s just as important to optimize your blog as it is to apply SEO to the rest of your site. Because blogs are frequently updated, a signal that search engines look upon favorably, blog content often ranks well in search. Blog posts also present an opportunity to rank for timely searches—for example, a new product that has been launched in your space, or a relevant news story or industry announcement, often leads to a spike in search traffic. Optimizing your blog posts for the right keywords can attract a new audience that may stick around, link to your site, or come back to convert.

Here are three simple ways to improve your blog SEO and increase rankings and traffic for individual posts:

1. Optimize your title tags

As with a conventional web page, the title is one of the most important elements for SEO. First and foremost, your title needs to:

  • Include the right keywords so search engines can find it
  • Be clear and concise so users know what the post is about

Do keyword research for every post, before you start writing if possible. Aim for a balance between popularity and targeting. “Apple iPad” is an extremely popular keyword, but that means it’s prohibitively competitive as well. Try narrowing broad topics down to a more focused keyword, like “Apple iPad ship date” or “Apple iPad Twitter reactions.” Include whatever keyword you choose in the title.

The title also should accurately convey the content of the post. A clever, punny post title like “The ‘Apple’ Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree” won’t necessarily make sense or stand out to someone searching for specific details about the iPad in Google. Remember, you can always choose a slightly different (and more clever) title to promote the post through social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, but search engines and search engine users should see a clear, keyword-focused title.

2. Improve follow-through on keyword research

Getting your writers to do keyword research before they write is one hurdle. Getting them to actually apply that research is another! While including keywords in the title is important, you also need to work your keywords into the body of the post.

A great way to improve follow-through on keyword research is to use an SEO plug-in for bloggers. One such example is WordStream SEO for Firefox, a plug-in that comes bundled with the company’s SEO Keyword Management software.

WordStream SEO for Firefox allows you to conduct keyword research, or consult the research you’ve already done, as you compose a post in blogging applications like WordPress, Blogger and Drupal.

wordstream

In the “Enter a Keyword” tab, you can find keyword suggestions related to your topic on the spot, categorized as phrases, single words, or questions. (Questions make great blog post titles, since many people enter them directly into the search box.) This tool is also a good way to generate topic ideas, when you’re not sure what to write about. In the “My Keyword Research” tab, you can access your historical research (via access to your paid WordStream account).

The plug-in also keeps track of how many keywords you use in the post as you write, ensuring that your research actually gets where it needs to be for optimization.

3. Optimize your images

A third way to increase your blog’s search engine traffic is to optimize your images for search. Including pictures and graphics on your blog not only adds visual interest (which is key for keeping readers engaged), it can actually boost your rankings. Why? Because many people use the image search option in Google and other search engines, and images give you another opportunity to include relevant keyword strings.

Keep these tips in mind when adding images to a blog post:

  • Include keywords in the file names of your photos: Don’t save an image with a generic file name like “photo1.jpg”—the file name should describe the content of the photo (e.g., “leopard-print-flats.jpg”).
  • Don’t ignore the alt text attribute: Many blogs neglect to utilize this useful tag. It provides another signal to search engines of what the photo contains. In addition, if a user’s computer fails to load the image, they’ll still know what the image conveys.
  • Use high-quality, high-resolution images: You don’t have to be a pro photographer to add a nice visual dimension to your blog. Many images are available on the Web through creative commons licenses.

While the list of things you can do to improve your blog’s SEO is virtually endless, applied keyword research, strong titles, and attractive, relevant images are three elements that make a huge difference, and you don’t need to be an SEO expert to master them.

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