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Inbound Marketing Trends

The Inbound Marketing industry is constantly changing and sees a ton of new, useful information on the regular. Keeping up on the latest industry knowledge is key; but what are the most popular avenues to stay up to date on the latest industry trends?

Surprise! (Not really.) 93.97% of Marketers use blogs as their go-to source to keep up with the latest industry shifts. Not too far behind were Social Media at 74.01% and Online Guides at 73.37%.

Of those surveyed, 45% say they spend more than 2 days per month researching and learning about the latest trends in SEO—more than any other area of digital marketing. I think it’s fair to say SEOs are like a bunch of sponges soaking up water. Except in this case, the water is actually knowledge. SEOs = Content Carnivores!

SEO

Key takeaway: Budget increases are helping companies implement more marketing automation.

The results from the Moz Industry Survey reveal that Digital Marketers will have increased budgets in 2014, if projections stand correct. That’s great news for the industry as a whole and shows the SEO industry continues to grow.

Key takeaway: Create a strategy so you have time for the king.

It is clear that Content is, and will continue to be, king of 2014. A large percentage of B2B Marketers are or plan to spend a decent amount of their budgets on Content this year, but it looks like there is still plenty of room for improvement. Data from CMI indicates 49.5% of Marketers don’t have a documented content strategy and are challenged with producing engaging content.

Social

Key takeaway: Use the network your target demographic is using.

Facebook continues to be the Social network of choice for most internet users, though some suggest it has reached its peak usage from the younger demographic. Despite those claims, Facebook continues to have the highest frequency of Social Media site use with 63% daily visits, according to PEW Research Center. With the highest number AND the most engaged users, Facebook continues to dominate the social landscape.

The key takeaway with Social Networks boils down to what channel your target market happens to be using. For example, if you are primarily targeting a female audience, consider focusing on Pinterest. According to a survey from Pew Research Center, one third of women in the U.S. use Pinterest. If you are able to focus on multiple Social Networks, look at the cross tabulation of Social Platforms for your target demographic to help determine where you should allocate your time and effort.

How to Avoid Buying a Bad Domain

How to Avoid Buying a Bad DomainBuying a new domain can be stressful, especially when you don’t know if there is any previous bad history with the domain and Google.

Many people purchase a domain only to discover it’s been seemingly permanently banned by Google for using black hat SEO tactics, then have to jump through hoops to prove it’s all cleaned up and do a reconsideration request. And it becomes even murkier when purchasing not only a domain name but also the site content as well.

In a new webmaster help video, Google’s Matt Cutts details some things webmasters can do before purchasing a domain to prevent ranking problems later.

Start by doing a site search in Google for the name of the domain you’re buying, he said.

“If there’s no results at all for that domain, even if there’s content on the domain, that’s a pretty bad sign,” he said. “If the domain is parked, well we try to take part domains out of the results anyway so that might not indicate anything. But if you try to do site: and see zero results, that’s often a bad sign.”

You can also do a site: search on the domain name in Bing as well, so you can get a better idea. Obviously if a site is showing up in Bing, but not Google, that’s a major red flag. But you can also do a site: search in Bing and plug in typical spam keywords and see what shows up.

“Just search for the domain name, or the name of the domain minus the.com, or whatever the extension is on the end. Because you can often find a little bit about the reputation of the domain,” Cutts said.

“So were people spamming without the domain name? Were they talking about it in a bad way like, ‘This guy was sending me unsolicited email and leaving spam comments on my blog’? That’s a really good way to sort of figure out what’s going on for a site, or what it was like in the past,” he said.

Again, do a thorough search on both Google and Bing, especially if you’re looking for things like spam comments they might’ve left where those sites are now removed from the Google index.

SEO Tips For Building Your Personal Brand

Most firms now recognize the importance of developing a powerful online brand. Now, an increasing number of professionals have started to recognize the benefits of developing a personal brand.

Below, some examples of how you can use social media to help ensure ranking as highly as possible in Google for your “personal brand.”

SEO Tips For Building Your Personal Brand

Blogging. Blogging is an excellent method of building a strong reputation within an industry. If hundreds or even thousands of people are subscribing to read your content and expert opinions, then this is clearly something you want searchers to find when they come looking for you online.

Most blogs are likely to be hosted on either a company or personal domain and the natural links generated should help to ensure this has a strong reputation in the search engines.

Guest blogging. If you work hard on your own blog and keep it fresh with useful content, you can normally expect to rank for two of the top ten listings in Google at best. However, in addition to this you may have opportunities to guest blog at similar related websites.

Twitter. Similar to blogging, Twitter is an excellent method of building a strong online reputation within an industry. If you can build a following of relevant users by providing valuable tweets, you’ll probably find that your profile page will be highly regarded in the search engines too.

If potential clients are looking for more information about you, then a Twitter profile containing expert advice and related conversations is going to help strengthen your reputation in the eyes of the searcher.

Business social media networking. Many people have profiles on business networking sites such as LinkedIn and Plaxo. These are great sites to show a professional profile containing your career history to browsing users, letting them know straight away the company you are currently working for, if people are looking to contact or reconnect with you.

Online presentations. If you’ve spoken at a conference, seminar or workshop, upload your presentation to SlideShare and Scribd. This will allow people to view and download your presentations, plus it’s another chance to optimize for your name (or company name) and show that you are a highly respected speaker.

Online video. Similar to online presentations, if you have any video recordings of conference or seminar speaking events then upload the ones you find appropriate to online video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo.

Social media networking. Once you have targeted the main positive listings you want to appear in the search engines, why not try controlling even more real estate with some more neutral listings? The obvious ones are profile pages on sites such as Facebook (grab that vanity URL!), Flickr, Digg and StumbleUpon.

Google Supports New Schema for Multiple Business Phone Numbers

Google Supports New Schema for Multiple Business Phone Numbers:If you haven’t been using any rich markup schema on your website, you’re missing out on some opportunities for search engines to better semantically understand your website. At the very minimum, most site should use authorship markup.

Site owners concerned with local SEO should really be taking a look at it. But now there’s a new reason. Googlebot is better learning how to understand business location information like specific phone numbers for departments or multiple locations.

Recently announced, Google launched support for new schema.org markup that helps your organization define specific preferred phone numbers when listed on your website.

Out of the gate, the new schema is supporting different phone numbers for:

  • Customer service
  • Technical support
  • Billing support
  • Bill payment

Here’s an example:

Nest Labs Phone Number Schema

Itemprop parameters also allow you to indicate:

  • if a number is toll-free
  • if TTY/TDD service is available for deaf or hard-of-hearing
  • if the number is specific to a country, certain countries, or is global

Google is recommending this new schema, along with other schema for hours of operation, address, and other information, be placed on a business’ location page. To help take the confusion out of the process for adding this markup, Google has updated Webmasters guidelines with recommendations for creating location pages for local businesses and organizations.

Businesses with multiple locations should truly benefit from this new schema format. In the age of location-aware, semantic search, it’s ever-important to have the search engines understand your business, be it department-specific or location-specific.

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