I have a confession: I am an introvert, and, to top it off, I am shy.
People can't believe it: "But you work in communications, you go on camera, you have to be a people person to be in communications!" Not true. It's my job to tell stories, deliver the message, and help connect the dots for people. It's not my job to be the life of the party.
It's dinged me on performance reviews: "Be more assertive!" It's dinged me in relationship building: "Catherine is a bit aloof." It's dinged my own self confidence: "Why won't any words come out of my mouth right now?" But it hasn't dinged my ability to do my job.
This is how I have managed my introverted self in an extroverted world:
1. I take walks—a lot of them throughout the day. My energy gets zapped by people (classic description of an introvert), and the way I rejuvenate my energy is to walk alone. I have had fabulous brainstorms by myself on the path outside our office.
2. I grin and bear it. I have about a 45-minute window when I can fake it. If I have a networking event to go to and I really have to be on, I don't schedule drinks with someone beforehand nor dinner afterward, because I know it will stress me out.
3. I order room service. When I travel, I make sure I have at least one night to myself. If I don't, it wrecks me for the week.
4. I do coffee. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner meetings can be stressful: "What will we talk about before the food comes? What if they order dessert?"
5. I devour pop culture. I'm a pop culture junkie, and it's my golden ticket for conversation starters. Who doesn't want to talk about "Game of Thrones"? (No, really, who doesn't?) Who doesn't adore Jimmy Fallon, and who hasn't heard the song, "Let it Go?"
6. I build relationships 1:1: I don't do well in large groups, but I put a lot of time and energy into building and maintaining relationships one to one. I want to get to know people and truly value all my relationships. Once someone knows me and I know them, I relax. You might even say I become an extrovert.
And with that, I am going to go take a walk.
When you are first starting a blog, it is quite easy to forget about the basics. Your focus is churning out post after post, sharing the posts on social media, creating links to the posts and monetizing the blog.
Most new bloggers completely forget about the most basic yet important lements that make up a great blog.
To help you get your blog off on the right foot, I’m going to share some of the important things that your WordPress blog should have.
1. Social Share Buttons
Social share buttons must be the most underrated evolution on the Web. Social share buttons allow your readers to help you promote your content — without ever leaving your blog.
Why you need social share buttons:
- Good use experience. The share buttons make sharing easy.
- When your readers share your content, you gain free exposure. Your content will reach a wider audience.
- SEO. It’s 2014 and search engines are now factoring in social signals when raking sites.
- More traffic. When your content is shared on social media, you have the chance to siphon traffic from social media networks to your site.
2. Social Follow Buttons
While social share buttons let your readers share your content with their circles, social follow buttons allow your blog readers to follow you on social networks.
Chances are that you already have social share buttons on your blog, but don’t have social follow buttons.
Social follow buttons can help you increase your blog’s readership base. When you have many people following you on social networks, there is an increased likelihood of people consistently seeing your content and visiting your blog.
How many times have you visited a blog you loved and wanted to connect further, but you couldn’t find accessible social media follow buttons? Make sure the follow buttons are accessible — but not interfering.
3. Call-To-Actions on the Blog’s Sidebar
To get your readers to take action, include CTAs on the blog’s sidebar. You can tell your readers to download an eBook or check out a service you’re offering or even check out your other post(s).
With the CTAs, you’ll not only keep your readers engaged but also increase the chances of turning readers into buyers.
Instead of cluttering the whole blog with CTAs, have a few on the blog’s sidebar. Why the sidebar and not the footer or the content area? When on the sidebar, the call-to-action is least disruptive yet noticeable. CTAs on footer widgets are not as noticeable (one would have to scroll to the bottom of the page); and those in the content area can be distracting.
4. A Clean and Accessible Navigation Bar
To improve on user experience, make it easy for your readers to navigate. A navigation bar allows readers to move from one part of the blog to another.
If you’re using WordPress, creating a navigation bar is as simple as creating a menu bar. To create a menu in WordPress, visit Appearance then Menus and create a new menu.
5. Visuals: Make Your Blog Visual
To capture your reader’s attention (especially first-time readers) make the blog visually appealing. To do this, add an image or two to your blog posts.
Visuals like flow charts, screenshots and infographics make it easier for your readers to understand your content.
6. Opt-in box: Let Readers Subscribe via E-mail
The money is in the list. I’m sure you have heard this Internet marketing saying before.
If you want to create a loyal and engaged readership base, consider creating a list of subscribers. To create the list, encourage your readers to subscribe to your blog via e-mail.
With a list, you’re guaranteed of instant traffic every time you create a new post and e-mail a link to your subscribers. By sending links of your new posts to your list, you’ll be getting people back to your blog again and again.
To increase the rate of subscription, offer an incentive and place the opt-in boxes (one is not enough) in strategic locations on your blog. Also make the opt-in form simple, short and easy to read.
7. Recent Posts and Popular Posts Widgets
To keep your website visitors engaged, maintain accessible recent posts and popular posts widgets. You can have these widgets on the side bar, or below the posts.
An easily accessible list of recent posts tells your visitors what you’ve been up to lately (in terms of content creation). As for the popular posts – people are likely to click on them to see what made/makes them so enticing. Both widgets will help keep your readers on your blog longer.
To add recent posts and popular posts widgets in your WordPress blog, head to Appearance then Widgets. Choose the location you want the widgets to appear and drag and drop the widgets into the widgets area.
There’s lots of chatter in my industry about the future of search engines and how Google’s new algorithms are changing the landscape of how business owners work to keep and improve their website’s placement on Google. What seems apparent to me is that the following important trends are surfacing and impacting what we see in the organic results.
1. Search results returned by location specificity. But not only your Google.com preference location that you have set, but by your mobile search history and actual Google recorded locations over time.
2. Search results returned by click-through rate and bounce rate gathered by Google by users of the Chrome browser and Android tablet and Smartphone operating systems. Anything Google can track it is and it appears to be using this aggregate information in returning search results.
1. The ability to impact search results by building links and enhancing on-site keyword density.
2. The ability to impact search results by crafting title tags and H1 tags by page to try to boost search rankings.
3. Links from social media and activity on social media. Google is appearing to devalue these types of signals, which is a reversal from their announcement that they were using them in their search algorithm more than a year ago.
As social activity can be spammed just like link building, Google appears to be devaluing these items in favor of location specificity through concrete user tracking based on search history and location. Just try to turn off Wi-Fi on your Smartphone and you’ll see what I mean. In your Android system, Google keeps turning it back on as it uses Wi-Fi to track your location in order to know where you are so as to develop a better profile on you to determine what results to show you. Even if you turn it off, it will go back on.
Keep in mind that Google has now actively worked to tie your Smartphone number to your desktop, tablet and Google account so it now understands the full picture of who you are, where you live, and what you do based on your activity online and offline.
Google is using all this data on you to serve search results tailored just to your needs. It’s all about relevancy.
What Can You Do?
Based on what search engines are valuing and devaluing for organic placement what’s a business owner to do with optimizing their website to try to garner top organic search placement?
1. Build your site and create your content as if there were no search engines. Over time, organic search results will become so unique and so personalized, there will be no way to beat the system in the future. So instead, it is by far better to start now focusing on creating a winning online presence that caters to your local users and focuses on creating your business as an authority in your industry.
2. Look for more ways to promote your business and website in ways other than just in the organic search results. Consider pay per click advertising promotion, newsworthy press releases, writing articles for industry magazines and creating question and answer articles for your local newspaper.
3. Focus on location specificity in your content and on your website. Work to own your local marketplace. Make sure your phone number and address with full location and zip code are placed on every site of your website.
4. Work to connect with local resources like the Chamber of Commerce and other local business organizations. You can participate plus show a link to your website when you become a member. But remember this is way more than just building local links; this is about working your local network and building a location specific base. If you are a brick and mortar store, building loyalty programs with a Smartphone app now becomes incredibly important because Google will use the data from Smartphone users who actually visit your location to boost your results in the organic search results both in mobile and on desktops.
5. Watch the bounce rates on your website pages. It used to be a good strategy to include a lot of informational content on your website to build traffic numbers, but now that strategy may be driving a 70 percent to 80 percent bounce rate on your site which you must now work actively to lower to the industry average of about 46 percent. That may mean getting rid of articles and informational content that had been built before to solely establish industry authority.
Many of the things that search engines are now valuing to provide tailored organic search results are simply not scammable. It is becoming very difficult to garner search placement based on a strategy of serving content to please search engines. Instead, I recommend the tactic of becoming meaningful to your location specific users and supplement national visibility with pay per click advertising.
LinkedIn is making introductions a little more personable via mobile with amped up profiles that it promises will make you “look ridiculously good.”
The new profile styles tells your story to anyone who searches for you on their Smartphone or iPad. And, if there are some holes in your profile, LinkedIn will let you know what’s missing and tell you how you can add it. The new profile includes professional and personal details as well as “in common” and endorsements sections.
“What if, minutes before you met me for the first time, someone whispered in your ear and reminded you not only where I work (LinkedIn) and what I do (product management), but also who we both know in common, whether we overlapped any years in school, or if we worked at the same company?” LinkedIn mobile product manager Charlton Soesanto said in a blog post.
“If you knew what we had in common or any of my interests (say biking or Latin poetry), chances are that we’ll probably have a pretty great first conversation.”
The new profile, Soesanto said, is a “great ice breaker” because you can actually learn a bit about a colleague before meeting him or her for the first time — meaning you can “talk about something other than the weather.”
The new profile experience is coming to mobile first, accommodating the 43 percent of members using their Smartphones to access the professional social network. It is available to English speaking Android and iPhone users and across all languages for iPad users.
BlackBerry’s security offerings are receiving a boost as the Canadian Smartphone maker prepares to purchase German voice and data encryption specialist Secusmart GmbH.
The acquisition is a good move for BlackBerry, which is renewing its focus on clients such as government agencies that require top-notch security.
According to BlackBerry CEO John Chen, the deal is proof positive of the firm’s commitment to being the best in enterprise mobile security.
Secusmart is known globally for its anti-eavesdropping solutions for government organizations, enterprises and telecommunications service providers.
“We are always improving our security solutions to keep up with the growing complexity of enterprise mobility, with devices being used for more critical tasks and to store more critical information, and security attacks becoming more sophisticated,” Chen said in a press release. “The acquisition of Secusmart underscores our focus on addressing growing security costs and threats ranging from individual privacy to national security. This acquisition bolsters our security solutions with leading voice and data encryption and anti-eavesdropping technologies, and furthers BlackBerry’s security leadership in end-to-end mobile solutions.”
BlackBerry and Secusmart have partnered in the past and last year offered the SecuSUITE for BlackBerry 10 — a solution used by Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security for classified communications for the country’s highest public officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“This transaction is a fantastic opportunity to accelerate growth in the market for high-end secure communications solutions, driven by the need to combat electronic eavesdropping and data theft,” said managing director Secusmart Dr. Hans-Christoph Quelle. “Secusmart and BlackBerry’s solution already meets the highest security requirements of the German federal authorities and NATO for restricted communications. We see significant opportunities to introduce Secusmart’s solutions to more of BlackBerry’s government and enterprise customers around the world.”
The deal, the terms of which were not revealed, must still receive regulatory approvals before being finalized.
Faster, more memory and cheaper.
It’s not the slogan but it’s a pretty accurate summary on Apple’s news regarding MacBooks as the new 15-inch model Retina’s were given a bit of an overhaul and the non-Retina MacBook Pro 13-inch model received a $100 price slash.
In a press release issued Tuesday, Apple’s senior vice-president of worldwide marketing said the popular computers will only get better as upgrades roll out in the fall.
“People love their MacBook Pro because of the thin and light, aluminum unibody design, beautiful Retina display, all day battery life and deep integration with OS X,” said Philip Schiller. “The MacBook Pro with Retina display gets even better with faster processors, more memory, more affordable configurations and a free upgrade to OS X Yosemite this fall.”
The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display features dual-core Intel Core i5 processors up to 2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz and 8GB of memory, up from 4GB in the entry-level notebook. The 13-inch model can also be configured with faster dual-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.0 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5 GHz. The top-of-the-line 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has a new, lower starting price of $2,499. The 15-inch model features faster quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 2.5 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.7 GHz, 16GB of memory, up from 8GB in the entry-level notebook, and can be configured with quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.0 GHz.
As reported by The Register, the timing of the news could be linked with the end of summer nearing.
The updated models are scheduled to arrive just in time for school bells to begin ringing again meaning many students will be asking their parents for a new computer.
This summer has seen Apple working behind the scenes to upgrade a variety of its hardware and products. On top of the MacBook Pro update, Apple has improved the iPod Touch and worked on an option on the iMac desktop which is cheaper.
A recent issue of The New York Times magazine offers a compelling interview with Carl Hart, who is the first tenured African-American professor of sciences at Columbia University and a former drug user.
Hart is known for his research into drug abuse and addiction and is author of the 2013 book "High Price," which sounds so interesting that I'm going to read it next week.
What could be more sensational than this? First, there's the juxtaposition of drug abuse and a stellar university career. Then there's the racial aspect. Then there's Hart's tendency to speak in firm, declarative, no-BS sentences.
For a writer, the really interesting challenge is to look at his interview and figure out which particular direct quotes I'd use if I were preparing a story on him.
Here's why I find this so intriguing:
Many corporate writers (and some journalists, too, incidentally) quote way too much. I learned this the hard way, as a result of my habit of copying other writers. I discovered that some writers quoted their sources rather more selectively and modestly than I did—and to greater effect. I immediately vowed to emulate their technique.
To quote less requires paraphrasing more. Why paraphrase? Three main reasons:
1. Many people in the business world don't speak in articulate, interesting sentences or, worse, they lard their language with clichés or jargon. Some can toss off clever and salient comments like, "Nero fiddled, but [Calvin] Coolidge only snored." (That's a quote from H.L. Mencken—a journalist.) For every one of those, there are a dozen who will say, "Coolidge ran a laissez-faire government." B-O-R-I-N-G. So, even while you'll always want to cite sources, do them—and your readers—a favor by paraphrasing. This is particularly important if your sources use clichés or jargon. There's no need to inflict those on your readers.
2. Paraphrasing allows you to summarize. Your interview with a subject might run as long as half an hour. Assuming this person speaks at 150 words per minute, you may collect 4,500 words. You can't use them all. By summarizing—and paraphrasing—you'll be able to share the most important and valuable information your readers need.
3. Paraphrasing allows you to highlight the best of the best. Do you know why jewelers like to display their goods on black velvet? It's because the darkness of the fabric makes the jewels glitter brightly by comparison. Similarly, if you paraphrase the bulk of what your subjects tell you and quote only the most captivating phrases, you'll be giving them a background of black velvet against which they can shine like diamonds.
Putting it into action
So, let's return to that Carl Hart interview. I printed it out, took my yellow highlighter and marked the three quotes (four sentences) I'd use:
"The problem was that crack wasn't the real problem."
"As a politician, you can use "crack cocaine" as a code word and say you're going after it, but you're actually going after people we don't really like in our society."
"If politicians did care about their constituents, they would work harder to seek out people like me. They don't."
I selected these quotes because they seemed "real" to me and because they were tightly constructed and non-repetitious.
So how would I handle the rest of the (interesting) material? Here's an example: The Nancy Reagan quote fascinated me but didn't make the cut, because it was too choppy and I figured it would be better off paraphrased. Here's how I'd handle it:
Hart says the "just-say-no" attitude of people like Nancy Reagan illustrates a kind of detached cluelessness that he finds abhorrent. "If politicians did care about their constituents, they would work harder to seek out people like me," he says. "They don't."
Paraphrasing isn't much work, especially if you're a corporate writer and you can ask your source to review the story before it's published. In many cases you can even use the quotes precisely—just remove the quotation marks to make it flow better and seem more readable.
Would you make the same choice I did in the Hart article? Please describe how you have would have handled it.
Every major brand has a distinct personality.
Though they serve similar needs, you’d never confuse Walmart for Nordstrom, Microsoft for Apple, In-n-Out Burger for McDonald’s, Holiday Inn for the Ritz Carlton, or Southwest Airlines for Emirates. Brands develop specific attributes, most of which are earned through their actions. Smart brands always look to improve that list of attributes in order to attract the type of customer they want to serve in the future.
Having helped companies develop effective brand communications over the past two decades, I’ve come up with a handful of tips to help you improve the way others see your brand. Take time to really:
1. Know thyself, inside and out.
To enhance your brand image, you have to understand your starting position. Take a mirror and hold it up to your brand in the harsh light of day. (Give your brand a long, hard look, trying to be honest rather than aspirational.) Ask yourself these three questions: Why do customers choose us? Relative to other brands serving the same customers, how does our brand stack up? How would our brand attributes change if we better served our customers?
2. Figure out how to appeal to and attract the customers you want.
It’s not all about you. Your personal preferences, while interesting, aren’t particularly relevant. Your brand image should speak to what your target audience values. Engineering-driven technology companies sometimes create brand images that reflect the technical founder’s view of the world. That’s usually a mistake. Your customers may buy ultra-high performance networking gear from you, but what they really want is improved employee productivity, enhanced employee satisfaction, and the ability to fulfill their customers’ orders during peak seasons. You may think you’re selling boxes when what you’re actually selling is peace of mind. Intelligence is important, but when it comes to your brand, emotion is perhaps more important.
Let’s say you’re selling peace of mind. Think about colors, fonts and imagery that convey peace of mind. People will judge you, at least initially, by your appearance, so think long and hard about how to convey your brand image in everything you do, always putting the customer first.
3. Communicate your brand values throughout your company.
Your website and other outward brand messages aren’t the only things communicating who you are to customers and prospects. Every single person in your company is a brand ambassador. Hire carefully and build your brand promise from the inside out. Set and enforce the right tone, making sure everyone who works at your company knows what you stand for, how you operate, and what kind of a customer experience you intend to deliver.
For Zappos, the brand promise involves delivering superior service and selection to online shoppers. The company has very generous free shipping (both ways), and a 365-day “no questions asked” return policy. More important, perhaps, is that all Zappos employees are aware of the brand promise, and they’re given latitude in their interactions with customers. The result? About 75 percent of Zappos customers are repeat customers. That’s pretty remarkable, but then, Zappos has done the work to build a great brand.
4. Recognize that first impressions can be lasting.
It’s true you cannot make “old friends’ overnight and it’s “what’s on the inside” that counts. That said, many people will make snap decisions about your brand based on the first impression. If they like what they see, they’ll investigate further. If not, they’ll go elsewhere. It may not be fair, but that’s life.
Carefully review all of your potential customer touch points to ensure that prospective customers get a “brand-appropriate” first impression. What impression will they take away of your brand when they visit your website, stop by your trade show booth, connect with you on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, come to your offices or meet your employees? If it’s positive and consistent with your brand promise, congratulations! If not, you’d be well advised to make the necessary changes as soon as practical.
5. Be consistent.
A foolish consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but a “smart consistency” is critical to building your brand and growing your business. Alaska Airlines is a great example of how consistency of interaction increases customer loyalty. The interactions I have with Alaska have a tenor I enjoy. On one occasion, I had an “off brand” experience, and the same day that I let Alaska know about that interaction, I received a sincere apology and a satisfactory resolution, preserving their positive brand image in my eyes. Smart.
Customers like knowing what to expect from the interactions they have with your company. This means you need to deliver brand-consistent experiences across sales, customer support, and accounts receivable calls, in all your direct marketing efforts, on social media channels, throughout your PR and advertising programs, on the Web, and elsewhere. It extends to the tone and personality your people and processes take when interacting with customers and prospective customers anywhere along the line.
Why do you need to ensure that your company delivers the same brand experience across every department? Because when people know what to expect, they come to trust you. And once they trust you, they’re more likely to recommend you to their friends, family and colleagues. The industry term for this is brand continuity, and it’s very important to your long-term business success.
Because of the relatively vague nature of SEO – relative to paid channels, that is – the field is more open than others to opinions…which can start off informed but, without checks and balances, can morph into myths over time.
But the field evolves like crazy, so yesterday’s myths aren’t the same as today’s myths. Some of these myths have been around before 2014, while others have recently surfaced. The listed myths are ones that are either buzzing around the industry or that brand managers have brought to my attention. Numbers 4, 8, 10, 11, 12 are some of the newer myths that have recently surfaced.
Whenever Google releases an algorithm update of any kind, speculation begins in the industry about how to update on-page/off-page factors to play into the new algorithm tweaks. I assume in the near future we’ll hear and see more myths arise regarding mobile, entity relationships, and the ever-changing visual nature of Google SERPs.
In today’s post, I’ll examine what I believe to be the prevailing myths in the SEO industry – and I’ll look at the reality behind them.
1) SEO is dead
This thought is commonly thrown around and while not new to 2014, it still is around; actually, it might even have been heightened over the past several years. Just type in ‘SEO is’ within Google and check out the autocomplete results, which are largely based upon search volume: seo is dead, seo is bullsh*t, seo is dead forbes.
The fact of the matter is, public opinion seems to have SEO dying, year-over-year (and subsequently coming back to life each year…?). But SEO isn’t dead. Yes, it has changed, which brings us to our next myth…
2) SEO is just about the organic landscape (on-page & off-page opts)
This certainly started with a grain of truth. SEO used to be solely about the organic landscape, only working on optimizing direct on-page elements (title tags, h1 tags, meta descriptions, etc.) as well as direct off-page elements (link building). Now, however, there’s the Umbrella of SEO. This SEO Umbrella consists of user experience testing, blogging efforts, public relations efforts, email marketing, and social media promotion.
As SEO professionals move away from simply working toward achieving placement within the SERPs, their day-to-day is more about being brand managers and ensuring the client’s digital footprint is as far-reaching and accurate as possible. In short, if you write content regarding your brand/website, you can benefit from SEO engagement.
3) There’s some magic bullet that exists for SEO
This is an oldie and a persistent goodie…but there is no magic silver bullet that will kill the SEO Werewolf. A lot of people are under the assumption that you can change one attribute on your website/webpage and from this alone achieve beneficial ranking changes.
For the most part (large technical fixes being the exception: unblocking a page from robots.txt, for example) this is simply not true. SEO isn’t about finding that one loose screw and turning it, but rather turning a multitude of screws while in tandem pulling levers to get your webpage to function as one holistically optimized page theme for the spiders to understand.
4) I need to rank No. 1 organically
In 2012, you may have a good point here. In 2014, ranking No. 1 is no longer what it used to be. Just look at the new visual nature of the SERPs, where on some queries the No. 1 ranking spot is actually below the fold on certain screens.
New updates are pushing down the organic results: PLAs (which are now above text ads); the Google Carousel that appears on local queries, music tracks, etc.; the Google Answer Cards (that literally scrape content from websites to render at the top of SERPs). Ranking high on the SERPs is going to be more beneficial than not, true, however the benefit has changed and now SEOs can and should affect more than just ranking increases
5) Sending any paid media to the engines will give you a boost in organic rankings
This myth comes from those who believe that if you are involved in AdWords/Bing Ads, you get an inherent boost in organic rankings. The problem is, the only correlation whatsoever between running organic efforts alongside paid efforts is that cannibalization doesn’t happen, meaning higher click-through rates have been established when you organically rank next to one of your paid ads within the SERPs.
6) SEO tools are all you need
SEO tools are great for tracking and management. Additionally they can provide you a one-stop shop for seeing side-by-side SEO metrics such as rankings next to analytics. The problem with SEO tools comes when you have a brand manager who thinks that said tool is all they need.
Tool suites will likely have what they’ve deemed as best practice recommendations, based on an automated system. As SEO professionals, we understand that while there can be some continuity between verticals for best practices, there are many optimizations that hold true for one vertical over another.
Moreover, tools have some pretty universal shortcomings: they don’t alert you to algorithm updates or potential penalties incurred, and they tend not to have deep content insights for competitor websites.
7) SEO is “set it and forget it”
Many people are under the assumption that SEO is a one-time update, consisting of updating your website to the current best practices and then no longer needing SEO services. SEO is truly best when run as an ongoing engagement. The engines take time to recognize and index website updates. We’ve seen some sites take several months for changes to take effect within the SERPs.
With constant algorithm updates and tests, you can’t update your website for today’s best practices and then turn a blind eye towards tomorrow’s . And I’m not even touching the fact that fresh, relevant, frequently updated content is not a one-time endeavor.
8) Marking up my content (microdata) will help it rank
We haven’t identified any direct causation between Schema markup and higher organic rankings. With that said, website markup should still happen. It does help the spiders to further understand your content and entity relationships; it also has the potential to be visually pulled into the SERPs for enhanced click-through rates.
9) UX and SEO are separate efforts
This can be viewed as more of an opinion than a myth, but brand managers still hold this view of UX and SEO. The two play together very closely, with UX helping to improve some SEO metrics such as time-on-site and bounce rate, to name two.
Consumer psychology studies have been performed for insights such as button shapes and colors to help influence how users interact with the website, which all ties back into the ‘stickiness’ or health/authority of the website and overall SEO benefit.
10) Social media signals directly drive SEO
Google used to have access to the Twitter fire hose, but that relationship ended back in 2011. The social data Google does have access to is its proprietary social network, Google+.
However, no direction causation has been seen from +1’ing a post with higher organic rankings; only correlation has been seen with the notion that content that ranks well is likely popular and beneficial and will also fare well via social networks (Google+, for example).
11) Author rank is real
As it stands today, there has been no confirmation of Author Rank and how it may tie in with Google’s algorithms. Many people confuse Author Rank with Authorship, and they are very different. Authorship is the visual markup you see within the SERPs that anyone can do, which involves HTML code placement. The idea behind Author Rank is to attribute certain values to authors who then can become authorities for topical areas, thus likely having their opinions/answers given more priority within the SERPs.
This has yet to manifest, so it may still live in the myth realm…but it’s likely to manifest soon.
12) LINKS ARE DEAD!
As soon as Google and Bing came out and said they recognize social signals as ranking factors (initially noted, now most are skeptical) many people flocked to the camp that said links are either dead or are dying. Within days, some case studies arose of content initially ranking very well with only social shares and mentions, and zero links.
Another factor nudging this myth along is that Yandex, the main search engine in Russia, has an algorithm that doesn’t place value upon links due to the huge spammy nature of Russian websites. (I’m not sure how wide spread this knowledge is, but this could contribute to the myth/opinion that links are dead or being devalued.)
Turns out, links are still very significant in SEO. There’s a focus on link quality that has evolved over the years, and penalties resulting from black hat linking practices, but good links still help to produce good traffic.
13) SEO is only reactive
This goes to the notion of brands thinking that after their website has been hit with a potential penalty is the appropriate time to engage in SEO services. And this is just fine – as long as you’re willing to either incur a penalty or be non-competitive for traffic in the first place.
SEO should ideally be proactive rather than reactive.
14) You should put your trust in SEO gurus for all the insight you need
There are simply just too many bloggers or self-proclaimed “SEO Gurus” (seriously, what does that even mean…?) out there publishing opinions on the web to take everything you read literally. Whenever people who are looking into SEO for their site read something on the web, it should be taken with a grain of salt. (Yes, that even means taking this article with a grain of salt.) You should never trust a single source, but rather use the information you find there to see if it also is resounded elsewhere.
Yelp is turning to video to enable users of its site to personalize their reviews.
The online review site has updated its iPhone app to give its users the chance to post three- to 12-second video reviews of local eateries, hotspots and other businesses.
Visuals are important, Yelp said in a blog post, noting that 23,000 photos are uploaded daily from mobile apps. In fact, Yelp users spend 2.5 times longer on business pages with pictures than on those that have none.
Kicking it up a notch with video better enables users to capture details of an establishment that photos alone can’t.
The feature is not meant to be an oral video review but, rather, an opportunity to show the décor, ambiance and size of an establishment.
“These short videos are great for conveying the atmosphere of a business, which helps others anticipate their experience before stopping by,” Yelp said in the blog post. “For instance, imagine scrolling through pics of delicious dishes at a new bistro but not really being able to tell if the ambiance is more ‘date night’ or ‘family friendly.’ Yelp video is here to help.”
Although the feature is currently only available for iPhone users, the tool is coming soon Android.