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2004 (METS) Absolute Mem Tools of the Trade Blue Spectrum #61 Jae Weong Seo /125

Written by admin on Oct 20th, 2016 | Filed under: Seo Tools

2004 (METS) Absolute Mem Tools of the Trade Blue Spectrum #61 Jae Weong Seo /125

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Earning the Link: How to Pitch and Partner with the 5 Publisher Personas

Written by admin on Oct 20th, 2016 | Filed under: Seo Tools

Posted by QuezSays

I stood up from my office chair, stepped behind it and leaned on its back with both hands so I could stare at the email from a new angle. I was silenced by the response of the blogger:

“We’ve had a recent policy change here, and we no longer offer followed links. It’s hurting our reputation and being flagged by Google.”

In that moment, the game changed for me. I’ve received some interesting responses from editors and bloggers about links before, but never as adamant and uninformed as this. I realized that I needed to develop a communication strategy for my emails to publishing partners about links.

The challenge

Content marketing is a great way to amp up the reputation and visibility of your business. This includes well-placed bylines on high-authority sites that cover your market place. From our perspective, it’s completely appropriate to receive an attribution link in return. Creating interesting, authoritative, and valuable content is something my team excels at — that’s not the issue. The issue is working with publishing partners who have preconceived notions about links.

Publishers, bloggers, and editors have a wide range of opinions when it comes to links and how they’re treated by Google. This can create challenges for content creators who want to submit their work to these publishers but are being refused a link back to their site in their author attribution. A variety of people find themselves in this situation — SEOs, content marketing professionals, freelancers, thought leaders, etc.

The fact that people have different opinions on links is not exactly breaking news. My CEO, Eric Enge, does a good job recapping how this nofollow madness came about.

So how do you communicate with publishers in these circumstances in a way that’s credible, respectful, and effective?

After placing roughly 150 pieces of content on a wide range of sites, I’ve learned that it’s crucial to identify someone’s perspective to effectively communicate with them. There are so many myths and misconceptions about links and how Google treats links — you never know what perspective you’ll be dealing with.

This piece will help you quickly identify the perspective at hand, personify it, and from there, help you strategically communicate to give you the best chance of attaining that well-earned attribution link.

Step 1 – Pitch properly

As Rand Fishkin said in his 2012 Whiteboard Friday, “Stop link building and start link earning.” This context is the foundation of all communication with publishing partners.

Practice good pitching etiquette and do your homework researching the site. There are many resources that cover this, so I won’t go in-depth here. However, I will touch on my pitching strategy because I truly believe in its effectiveness.

When I draft all of my pitch emails, I refer to a sticky note stuck to my monitor that outlines the four sequential questions an editor is going to have when they receive my email:

Sticky note.jpg

1. What does this person want?what they want.png

Answer this question in the subject of your email, and in the first sentence. Eric Enge suggests you treat this as your value proposition.

2. Is this credible?

is this credible.png

Ask yourself the question, “What would make my communication more credible in this person’s eyes?”

For example:

  • Name-dropping a big brand that is a part of the collaboration
  • Mentioning an accolade that your writer has earned (e.g. rated top Southern mommy blogger back-to-back years)
  • Highlighting other places the author has been published (e.g. monthly Forbes and USA Today contributor)
  • Mentioning a very specific piece of information that proves you’ve spent a lot of time on their site:
    • “Penny Pens has a lot of tips to share on how to road trip around the Midwest. I think this would complement your travel-heavy July editorial calendar. It would also build nicely off of Christina WritesALot’s piece on Choosing Travel Buddies Wisely.”
  • Speaking directly to their content strategy:
    • “I think that Bobby Beers UCLA Tailgating guide would be a great piece to help promote football ticket sales on your events page.”

Worth noting: If you’re unwilling to do the in-depth research that allows you to speak this way, don’t slapdash this communication. Go another route. “I read your recent article on plants and found it very interesting” doesn’t give you any credibility, and it can even hurt you by coming off as insincere. Emails like that already plague editors.

Don’t believe me? Check out Michael Smart’s article on how we’ve ruined the compliment approach to pitch introductions.

In fact, I’ve even seen software that mimics this approach for marketers that are trying to scale their outreach. The user selects the publication and editor and the software creates an email template that automatically pulls in the title of the last article the editor published. That is how manipulative the email outreach environment has become.

3. Is this valuable?

is this valuable.png


4. Will this work?

will this work.png

Ask yourself what details would be worth including here. Is the detail crucial to the communication? Would including it potentially prevent the recipient from understanding something or from responding?

For example, when I pitch writers that work for a big brand, sometimes I mention that we’re not interested in giving or receiving any compensation for the contribution I’m offering. I’ve had experiences where the editor sees the name of my Fortune 100 client and immediately thinks that I’m offering a sponsored post. Or they think that my writer wants payment and will immediately write off the opportunity because they don’t have the budget for another writer at that time.

By answering these questions clearly and in this order, I’m giving the editor permission to close the email at any time with the information they need to know that this opportunity is not going to work. This is the best gift you can give an editor. It shows that you respect their time and will keep the door open for future opportunities. It’s how to begin building trust in a long-term relationship.

Side note: Talking about links during pitching

I generally don’t talk about links with an editor upfront and often wait until they’ve had a chance to see the completed content. First of all, the attribution link is only one of the benefits we’re looking for (reminder: the others are reputation and visibility). It just doesn’t seem fair to talk to the editor about your author attribution before they see the piece. They don’t know you and want to see that you can deliver something valuable and non-promotional first.

It can also come off as unnatural to some editors. Do you really want to risk having your email mistaken for one of the hundreds of spam emails they regularly get promising “high-quality relevant content in exchange for only one dofollowed link!”? Unfortunately, talking about links right away can sometimes trigger an editor to see your content opportunity as low quality.

Step 2 – Earn the link

Once the editor requests your content, work with the writer or content creators until you have something that you’re proud to represent. Ask yourself this question: “Is this link-worthy?” If the answer isn’t a resounding “Heck yeah,” then you won’t have the leverage that you need later on if you end up in a sticky situation (i.e. if you aren’t given a link or you’re given a nofollow link). In those situations, you need to make a powerful request to remedy the situation. Are you willing to make that request for a piece of content your team created half-heartedly? That’s up to you. You need to decide what type of content you want associated with your personal brand.

In short, there are no shortcuts. Earn the editor’s respect and earn the link.

link building vs link earning.png

Step 3 – Write a simple “white-hat SEO” author attribution and submit

For example:

  • Usually no more than two to three sentences
  • Avoid direct-match rich anchor text
  • Link to a page that has high relevance to the author or the content
  • Don’t include more than one to two links

Step 4 – When encountering a nofollow link or missing link, communicate strategically

Once in a blue moon, when you check to see if an article you’ve submitted has been published, you’ll find a nofollow tag or a missing link.

What you SHOULDN’T do in this situation is send an email that justifies or explains why you deserve the link, or why the link is important to you. Don’t make an assumption as to why the link isn’t there. You don’t know what happened.

What you SHOULD do is make a simple request. There is no need for the email to be longer than three sentences:

“Hi Max, thanks for making Sally McWritesALot’s article look so great. It looks like the link in her attribution is nofollowed. Can you remove that nofollow tag?”

The editor’s response will give you hints on how to proceed. Below, I’ve outlined some of the flavors of responses you might get, with a publisher persona associated with each one that will help guide your communication strategy.

Skeptical Sally

skeptical sally.png

  • How to identify:
    • Skeptical Sally might respond with something like this (real examples I’ve received):
      • I don’t allow follow links on the site in sponsored or guest content. As I’m sure you are aware, it can dramatically damage our Google ranking. I love Andrea’s piece, but can’t risk a portion of the site … this is my full-time job — and one that I love. My Google ranking can affect future business opportunities.
      • We do not allow dofollow links any longer; this is in an effort to abide by SEO best practices for our blog.
  • Skeptical Sally’s perspective:
    • Sees links in general as very risky, especially a link that may be associated with a brand
    • Due to their policy change, she now plans to put a nofollow tag on every outbound link, “just to be safe”
    • Has an immediate skepticism of people asking for links
  • Communication strategy:
    • Move on. It is unlikely that Skeptical Sally will be open to a new perspective about links. If you try to educate her on the issue or talk through it, she may even get offended. Oftentimes, it’s just not worth impacting the relationship. After all, there may be ways to collaborate in the future that don’t involve content links (social media cross-promotion, interviews, etc.). Best to say thanks and move on. You still get the reputation and visibility benefits of the article that was published, but you now know that Sally’s site isn’t one where you can expect fair attribution.

Pseudo-Smart Steve

pseudo smart steve.png

  • How to identify:
    • Pseudo-Smart Steve might respond with something like this (real examples I’ve received):
      • The [client] link is just to [client] and will appear spammy to Google. Big red flag.”
      • Other language to look out for — any mention of “PageRank sculpting” or “retaining link juice”
  • Pseudo-Smart Steve’s perspective:
    • Has absorbed some SEO advice from outdated or unreliable sources
    • Knows that links are important, and wants to cash in on the best way to use them on his site
    • May attempt some type of “page sculpting” strategy to prevent precious PageRank from leaking off of his domain (note that this notion is a myth)
  • Communication strategy:
    • Make an attempt to educate these people, standing shoulder to shoulder with them. Sometimes they are just doing the best they can with the knowledge that they have and are open to new information.
      • For example, if the editor responds, “We prefer to nofollow as it retains the link juice,” then perhaps there is an opportunity to send them a link to a resource that will explain that the PageRank that would have been distributed to that nofollow link is NOT redistributed, it is essentially wasted (such as this Matt Cuts blog post).
      • Important – I wouldn’t recommend explaining SEO concepts in-depth over email. What would be more credible and powerful is to make your point in a sentence or two and then provide a link to a resource that backs up your point from an obviously credible source (Google’s blog, something that contains a quote from Google, a reputable study, etc.). Empowering an editor with the information they need to make their own decision is powerful and helpful.
      • Here are a couple of recently published resources to have bookmarked in case you are in a situation like this:

Here’s the extent I’d recommend explaining something in the email itself (real example):

  • Me: “Regarding the link, you can nofollow if it’s an absolute sticking point for you. However, we do feel that since the link is going to a relevant page (where you can find more writing by Julia), there won’t be any risk. Also, there are millions of websites linking to [client], so we feel from that standpoint, it’s not really going to raise any red flags.”
  • Editor: “OK — that all works. The nofollow link really isn’t a sticking point … I appreciate your feedback.

Savvy Shelby

savvy shelby.png

  • How to identify:
    • Responses that comment on how a topic relates to user experience, engagement, visibility, or other editorial areas
  • Savvy Shelby’s perspective:
    • Knows what she needs to know about links — that they are important to people, relevant to search engines, and are a form of currency when working with writers and freelancers
    • Knows that there are things that she doesn’t know about links — that search engines and technical marketers know a lot more than she does about exactly how links work
    • Knows that user experience is what really matters — that if a link doesn’t feel valuable to a user and isn’t a gesture to reward a contributor for a brilliant piece (trusting the contributor enough to know that it won’t be harmful), it may not be something she wants to include
  • Communication strategy:
    • If the link was omitted entirely, explain why including that link will positively impact user experience.
      • Will it provide author credibility?
      • Help users find more content that the author has written?
      • Expand on the topic somehow?
    • If the link has a nofollow tag, let the editor know that the author you are working with prefers to have the freedom to include a followed link in their attribution. This is why it’s so important that you’ve earned the link and provided incredibly valuable content to her and her audience. Trust must have been built by now.

Side note: Make this editor your best friend. They are your most powerful publishing partner.

Oblivious Oliver

oblivious oliver.png

  • How to identify:
    • There may not be specific language to look out for here, besides hints that suggest complete apathy or a lack of editorial structure or direction. Look for off-topic content or grammatical errors during your initial research. You probably don’t want to do a lot of work (and build an association) with a site that doesn’t scrutinize the work of their guest contributors.
  • Oblivious Oliver’s perspective:
    • Doesn’t know anything about links or an association between links and search engines
    • He’s willing to do almost anything with links, as long as it doesn’t make the page look bad
    • May be so hungry for original content that he’s willing to sacrifice quality in general
  • Communication strategy:
    • If you’re just realizing that you’re dealing with an Oblivious Oliver at this stage, it may be a sign that you’re not doing enough detailed research on the site upfront. Perhaps there were some hints within content on his site that you could have picked up on.
    • Regardless, at this point it doesn’t matter. Follow through on your word to deliver a high-quality piece of content and move on to the next opportunity.

The biggest takeaway here is the simplest one: Email communication around controversial or misunderstood topics (such as links) is difficult. Because of this, it will benefit you to keep your communication in simple editorial vernacular until you have earned the right to talk about links — by providing something valuable. When you identify a Savvy Shelby, cultivate the relationship. And for the rest, I hope that this guide empowers you to respond in a manner that’s more effective and will get you results.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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Facebook Twitter Social Media Marketing Management & SEO

Written by admin on Oct 19th, 2016 | Filed under: Seo Tools

Facebook Twitter Social Media Marketing Management & SEO

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All Content is Not Created Equal: Comparing Results Across 15 Verticals

Written by admin on Oct 19th, 2016 | Filed under: Seo Tools

Posted by kerryjones

Are you holding your content marketing to unrealistic standards?

No matter how informative your infographic about tax law may be, it’s not going to attract the same amount of attention as a BuzzFeed Tasty video. You shouldn’t expect it to. In order to determine what successful content looks like for your brand, you first need to have realistic expectations for what content can achieve in your particular niche.

Our analysis of hundreds of Fractl content marketing campaigns looked at the factors which have worked for our content across all topics. Now we’ve dived a little deeper into this data to develop a better understanding of what to expect from content in different verticals.

What follows is based on data we’ve collected over the years while working with clients in these industries. Keep in mind these aren’t definitive industry benchmarks – your mileage may vary.

Content-by-Vertical-01 (1).jpg

First, we categorized our sample of over 340 Fractl client campaigns into one of 15 different verticals:

  • Health and Fitness
  • Travel
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Drugs and Alcohol
  • Politics, Safety, and Crime
  • Sex and Relationships
  • Business and Finance
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Sports
  • Automotive
  • Home and Garden
  • Pets
  • Fashion

We then looked at placements and social media shares for each project. We also analyzed content characteristics like visual asset type and formatting. A “placement” refers to any time a publisher wrote about the campaign. Regarding links, a placement could mean a dofollow, cocitation, nofollow, or text attribution.

Across the entire sample, an average campaign received 90 placements and just over 11,800 social shares. As expected, the results deviated greatly from the average when we looked at the average number of placements and social shares per vertical.


Some verticals, such as Health and Fitness, outperformed the average benchmarks by more than double, with 195 average placements and roughly 62,600 social shares. Not surprisingly, verticals with more niche audiences had lower numbers. For example, Automotive campaigns earned an average of 43 placements and 1,650 social shares.

What were the top-performing topics?

The average campaigns in Health and Fitness, Drugs and Alcohol, and Travel outperformed the average campaigns in other verticals. So what does it take to be successful in each of these three verticals?

Health and Fitness

Our Health and Fitness campaigns were nearly nine times more likely to include side-by-side images than the average vertical.

Many of these side-by-side image campaigns were centered around body image issues. For instance, we Photoshopped women in video games to have body types closer to that of the average American woman. We also used this tactic to highlight male body image issues and differences in beauty standards around the world.

Takeaway: Contrasting images immediately pass along a wealth of information that can be difficult to capture as effectively with standard data visualizations like charts or graphs. Additionally, they carry emotional power.

For instance, we created a morphing GIF of Miss America from 1922 to 2015. The difference between Miss America in 1922 and Miss America in 2015 is stark, and the GIF makes a powerful statement. Readers and publishers were also able to access information about the images that wouldn’t have come across in figures alone (such as the change in clothing styles and the relative lack of diverse contestants).

As part of the project, we also charted the decline in BMI for pageant winners. Depending on the project and available information, it may be helpful to provide some quantitative data to support the narrative told through images.

Interestingly, although Health and Fitness campaigns were 36.4 percent more likely to use social media data than the average vertical, each of the social media campaigns were in the bottom 68 percent of all Health and Fitness campaigns by social shares.

Drugs and Alcohol

Our Drugs and Alcohol campaigns were 2.2 times more likely to use curated data (65 percent versus 30 percent) and 1.4 times more likely to have interactive elements (26 percent versus 19 percent) than the average campaign.

Takeaway: When dealing with emotional and controversial topics like drugs and alcohol, you don’t necessarily need to collect new data to make an impact. Readers and publishers value visualizations that can help explain complex information in simple ways. An additional benefit: creating interactive experiences that allow your audience to explore data on their own and make their own conclusions.

One good example of these principles is our “Pathways to Addiction” campaign, in which we created interactive platforms for exploring data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, including information about the sequence in which people have tried different substances.

This format allowed readers to explore a controversial topic on their own and draw independent conclusions.

Pro Tip: Whether you choose to use curated data or collect your own data, it is imperative to be impartial in your presentation and open in your methodology when working on campaigns around sensitive or controversial topics. You don’t need to stay away from controversial topics, but you do need to take precautions for your agency and your client.


Our Travel campaigns were 28.6 percent more likely to use social media data and 30.5 percent more likely to use rankings and comparisons than a campaign in the average vertical.

Takeaway: Travel is an inherently social behavior. For many people, travel isn’t complete until they’ve captured the perfect photo – or five. Travel content that acknowledges this social aspect can be really powerful. Rankings, which also feature heavily in travel content, are strong geographic egobait for readers and publishers and play up the social aspect of the Travel vertical.

Stratos Jet Charters’ Talking Tourists, which combined social media data with rankings, is a great example. For this campaign, we gathered over 37,000 tweets to determine which places were the most and least friendly to tourists.

Talking Tourists was successful (96 placements and over 56,000 social shares) because it used content types with proven success in the travel vertical (social media data, rankings, and maps) to explore a topic that isn’t often explored quantitatively.

How to achieve content marketing success in every vertical

The three industries listed above are ripe for highly successful content, but does that mean less popular verticals should go in with low expectations?

Even with topics that are more difficult to attract the attention of readers and publishers, it is still possible for your content to perform well beyond other content in the vertical. This is particularly true when campaigns align with trending stories or tell a completely unique story.

However, not every piece of content can hit it out of the park. Rand estimates that it will take five to ten attempts to create a piece of successful content. Even then, the average high-performing Science content will not receive the same amount of attention as the average Health and Fitness content.

So how can you maximize the chances for success? Here’s what we’ve observed about our top-performing campaigns in the following verticals:

  • Automotive: If you want to create automotive content that appeals to a wider audience, consider using data from social media. Four of our top seven campaigns (by placements) in this vertical featured data from social networks.
  • Business and Finance: When it comes to money, people want to know how they stack up. Our top Business and Finance campaigns (by social shares) relied on comparisons or rankings. If you’re looking for social shares, this is the way to go.
  • Drugs and Alcohol: Finding interesting correlations or stories in existing datasets can prove popular in this vertical – the majority of top campaigns used curated data.
  • Education: Our top Education campaigns featured social media data and interactive features.
  • Entertainment: Timely content that connects with a passionate fan base is a recipe for success.
  • Fashion: Successful fashion campaigns focused on solving problems for the audience.
  • Health and Fitness: Side-by-side images that show a strong contrast perform extremely well in this vertical.
  • Home and Garden: To attract attention from readers and publishers in this niche, make your content timely or pop culture-related.
  • Pets: The highest-performing campaign in this vertical appealed to readers and publishers because it focused on the social aspects of pet ownership. We also included a geographic egobait component by highlighting distinct regional differences in popular dog breeds.
  • Politics, Safety, and Crime: Our top-performing campaign (by social shares) in Politics, Safety, and Crime used social media data to explore a trending topic.
  • Science: In this vertical, relating complex topics to pop culture figures, like superheroes, can boost your content’s social appeal. Creating interactive platforms to explore complicated data can also help your audience connect with your campaign.
  • Sex and Relationships: Talking about sex and relationships feels a little scandalous, which piques interest. Two of our top three campaigns in this vertical, both by placements and by social shares, used social media data to measure conversation around these topics.
  • Sports: This vertical naturally lends itself well to regional egobait. Although only two of our Sports campaigns included maps, these were the most shared of all our sports campaigns.

Browse through the flipbook below to see examples of top-performing campaigns in each vertical.

Try a mixed-vertical strategy

For many of our clients at Fractl, we create content both within and outside of the client’s vertical to maximize reach. Our work with Movoto, a real estate research site, illustrates how one company’s content marketing can span multiple verticals while still remaining highly relevant to the company’s core business.

When developing a content marketing strategy, it is helpful to look at the average placement and social share rate for various verticals. Let’s say a brand that sells decor for log cabins wants to focus 60 percent of its energy on creating highly targeted, niche-specific projects and 40 percent on content designed to raise general awareness about its brand.

Three out of every five campaigns produced for this client should be geared toward publishers who write about log cabins and readers who are on the verge of purchasing log cabin decor. This type of content might include targeted blog posts, industry-specific research, and product comparisons that would appeal to folks at the bottom of the sales funnel.

For the other two campaigns, it’s important to look at adjacent verticals before determining how to move forward. For this particular client, primarily creating Travel content (which yields high average social shares and placements) may be the best course of action.

In addition to the data I’ve shared here, I encourage you to analyze your own content performance data by vertical to set realistic expectations. Vertical-specific metrics can also help identify opportunities to create cross-vertical content for greater traction.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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2004 (METS) Absolute Memorabilia Tools of the Trade Blue #61 Jae Weong Seo /250

Written by admin on Oct 19th, 2016 | Filed under: Seo Tools

2004 (METS) Absolute Memorabilia Tools of the Trade Blue #61 Jae Weong Seo /250

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