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Can't Buy Me Love
 

Can't Buy Me Love

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How to earn your marketing and your customers. Rand Fishkin's presentations from Distilled's Searchlove 2012.

How to earn your marketing and your customers. Rand Fishkin's presentations from Distilled's Searchlove 2012.

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  • True love comes in different shapes and sizes.
  • But whatever form it comes in. The spirit of true loves remains.
  • True love comes in different shapes and sizes.
  • Today, we’re going to talk about the most power force on the planet. TRUE LOVE.
  • There are two truths about true lovePhoto Credit: http://lovesthemuffin.deviantart.com/art/True-Love-105670936?q=sort%3Atime+favby%3Alogancale2010&qo=3
  • Short history of the challenges Harley faced: http://www.hotbikeweb.com/features/0701_hbkp_american_machine_foundry/viewall.htmlPhoto via Jim Skea: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimsk/128131281/
  • #1: Empathy + creavity = great contentWhen our Newsweek article was coming out in Dec. 2005, I panicked that thousands of readers would have no idea what SEO is and would come to our website to learn, and find only the blog, so I wrote the Beginner's Guide to SEO over the course of ~5 days. Newsweek didn't send much traffic, but the guide was picked up on Slashdot and Digg, which sent tens of thousands of visits and thousands of links.
  • #2: Innovation doesn't always trump improvementEarly in my SEO career, I stumbled onto Vaughn's "one pager" on SEO (http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/internet/google-ranking-factors.htm). It was a decent resource, but I always thought there should be something higher quality, more peer-reviewed, more data-driven, and with a better design. In 2005, we released our first edition of the Search Ranking Factors (http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors) which became a company defining resource for us.
  • #3: Branding may be more valuable than links & trafficWhiteboard Friday doesn't really compare in terms of visits or links to much of the other content we put out on the blog. We stick with it, because the engagement in terms of time-on-page, private virality (sharing through email, or gathering around a monitor on Fridays), brand association and memory all dramatically exceed any other content format. These elements, far more so than raw links or traffic, create positive brand associations that led to consulting engagements in our early life and software subscriptions since our switch.
  • #4: Amateur graphics perform shockingly wellA ton of the content I've created over the last 8 years has been in the form of very simplistic, relatively amateurish graphics and images. Yet, these have been featured on thousands of blog posts, in hundreds of presentations, and earned tons of links and rankings that continue to surprise me. The key seems to be the authenticity and resonance of the graphics, rather than the professionalism and quality.
  • #4: Amateur graphics perform shockingly wellA ton of the content I've created over the last 8 years has been in the form of very simplistic, relatively amateurish graphics and images. Yet, these have been featured on thousands of blog posts, in hundreds of presentations, and earned tons of links and rankings that continue to surprise me. The key seems to be the authenticity and resonance of the graphics, rather than the professionalism and quality.
  • #5: Being transparent with success works well, but with failure works even betterFor a long time, we've shared metrics about our company and website performance, and these often receive compliments and traffic. But, it's our failures, particularly posts like http://www.seomoz.org/blog/seomozs-venture-capital-process and http://moz.com/rand/misadventures-venture-capital-funding/ that have earned press, awareness, and made a lasting impression. This type of sharing also makes the information we do share massively more credible.
  • #6: Ranking #1 isn't all it's cracked up to beWe've had more traffic from position #3 than positions #1 and #2 combined, when that third result has a much more compelling and visual snippet. Videos, rel=author, rich snippets/schema are all critical for this.
  • #7: Content that involves third parties ranks betterYOUmoz posts almost always receive links from their writer. Posts that mention other companies or products favorably get cited by them. Posts that call out individuals usually get a link or social share from those mentioned and their communities. 
  • #9: Cannibalizing your own stuff sucksOne of the flaws in Google's ranking algorithm is the sometimes overwhelming preference for freshness. It means that on occasion, we'll have a relatively crummy page (e.g. an unanswered Q+A thread) outrank a really good, older article or blog post. We still get the ranking, but we disappoint the searcher. We're working on ways to limit this in the future.
  • #10: Sometimes, it's better to do SEO on someone else's siteWe've seen content rank more quickly and higher on sites like YouTube, Quora, Slideshare, and even Google+ than on our own. Perhaps not surprisingly, these will also sometimes earn more links and references, perhaps because those sharing/linking feel it's less commercial. And best of all, using secondary sites gives you the possibility to own even more of the search results for terms & phrases that are really important to you.
  • #10: Sometimes, it's better to do SEO on someone else's siteWe've seen content rank more quickly and higher on sites like YouTube, Quora, Slideshare, and even Google+ than on our own. Perhaps not surprisingly, these will also sometimes earn more links and references, perhaps because those sharing/linking feel it's less commercial. And best of all, using secondary sites gives you the possibility to own even more of the search results for terms & phrases that are really important to you.
  • #3: Branding may be more valuable than links & trafficWhiteboard Friday doesn't really compare in terms of visits or links to much of the other content we put out on the blog. We stick with it, because the engagement in terms of time-on-page, private virality (sharing through email, or gathering around a monitor on Fridays), brand association and memory all dramatically exceed any other content format. These elements, far more so than raw links or traffic, create positive brand associations that led to consulting engagements in our early life and software subscriptions since our switch.
  • #8: Google has a spooky nose for qualityThere are a lot of rankings where the classic keywords+links equation seems to fail, and much of the time, it's what I can only describe as "subjective quality" that seems to be propping up a page/site. I'd put money down that a combination of topic modeling and user/usage data is behind this, but optimizing for it isn't possible given our current tools and technology. However, writing a page that gets this right (http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/nirvana_customer_intent_matches_webpage_purpose.png via http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/tips-for-improving-high-bounce-low-conversion-web-pages/)
  • #11: When we share and how frequently matters a tonUsing Followerwonk and Facebook Insights, we can figure out when our social audience is online and target appropriately. We also do sharing, especially on Twitter, at least 2-3X because we know the same users aren't always online.
  • #12: Sharing format is hugeThe right image/graphic on Facebook or Google+, the right link formatting on Twitter, the right meta description for a piece of content (since these also now appear in social), all matter.
  • #14: The most "viral" and "engaging" social content often doesn't contain a link Many of our most "successful" (in terms of attracting/engaging comments, earning re-shares/re-tweets, etc) comes in the form of text, pictures, and questions on social networks, not just the posting of links (despite what the "science of social media" data often says).
  • #13: Only sharing your own content is a recipe for disasterSocial users appear to have a high expectation for reciprocation, and a strong ethic for "paying it back." Thus, if you help promote others' work on social networks, they will often turn around to help your shares spread further. LinkedIn is the most obvious example of this (with endorsements), but it's true all over the social web.
  • #15: Physical items are incredibly powerfulWhen we send members of our community a care package, a card, a letter, or a gift in the mail, they often become fans for life. Virtual interactions may be powerful, but they're not the same as real world ones. One tip - it has to be unexpected, or the magic's lost. A holiday card or a thank-you gift on their subscription anniversary is nowhere near as powerful as a "thanks for the great comments on our blog post" card.
  • #15: Physical items are incredibly powerfulWhen we send members of our community a care package, a card, a letter, or a gift in the mail, they often become fans for life. Virtual interactions may be powerful, but they're not the same as real world ones. One tip - it has to be unexpected, or the magic's lost. A holiday card or a thank-you gift on their subscription anniversary is nowhere near as powerful as a "thanks for the great comments on our blog post" card.
  • #16: The first interaction is often the last, unless...Someone engages back. Just a thumbs up or a comment reply correlates with keeping a person visiting, commenting, thumbing, submitting, etc. I suspect a lot of people on the web are seeking interaction, but they're very impatient and won't return if they don't see it that first time. Almost makes me wish we could build an alert to specifically tell our team when a first timer comments
  • #17: Email offers that promise extras may be worse than those that have a simple value propositionMany email offers overwhelm recipients with “extras” that marketers perceive will add to the consumer’s desire to convert. In fact, this works in the opposite fashion, making people believe the value isn’t there.
  • #18: Email newsletters with your own stuff < email newsletters with other people's stuffFor several years, we sent out email newsletters that linked to our "best" posts, content, tools, etc. These had pretty mediocre performance. Then came the Moz Top 10. It linked to 10 of the best pieces of content/news all over the industry, and its adoption and engagement has been comparatively amazing. Best of all, those who are mentioned in the Moz Top 10 hold a special place in their heart for the company, as we've not only praised them publicly, but also sent 10s of thousands of visits their way. That often gets reciprocated :-)
  • #17: Email offers that promise extras may be worse than those that have a simple value propositionMany email offers overwhelm recipients with “extras” that marketers perceive will add to the consumer’s desire to convert. In fact, this works in the opposite fashion, making people believe the value isn’t there.
  • #20: CRO often isn't about testing a landing page, but about changing your business to fit what your customers need from you.Every 2-3 years, we're re-imagining and re-inventing what we're building to serve our customers, and how we deliver it. Big changes are scary and hard, but that's what makes them worthwhile.
  • #19: Changing a button color will never have as much ROI as answering customer objectionsImproving our conversion rates in big ways has always come because we asked the right questions to different groups to discover A) why people buy and B) why some qualified customers don't buy. Once we know those, we can build conversion funnels that perform remarkably.

Can't Buy Me Love Can't Buy Me Love Presentation Transcript