Summary: The Art of Corporate Blogging on #SEOchat

Moderator: @shuey03

What are some of the reasons for a business to start a blog?

@ThomasJArmitage   Besides traffic value, I love how it makes writers stay up on trends and new things in the field. Strengthens writing skills too.

@BruceClayInc   Thought leadership, knowledge transfer, brand awareness, increased site traffic, legitimate links to high quality posts.

@MatthewAYoung   Blogs help brands develop personality, engage their target audience and their industry.

@paulaspeak   To inform and educate people on a subject — builds an audience AND establishes your expertise. Good for SEO & branding.

@shuey03   The obvious, to begin to create thought leadership. I think a blog also creates some validation that you are the real deal and creates another layer of trust.

@andrea_tuttle   Also attract attention from consumers who are in the learning/research phase.

@realemilylouisa   Create, share, and cultivate your own brand voice.

@gregdixson   To reinforce the brand, attract a readership, show authority, and often times provide content for their own site.

@AlanBleiweiss   With a blog u can bring conversation from social channels to your site. Social channels may come and go, change. Your blog can be a constant in the midst of change.

@davidmalmborg   What I love about these answers is not one person has said it’s to add more keywords to your site.
@KristiKellogg   And … if it HAPPENS to coincide with a desirable keyword target, all the better.
@gregdixson   Absolutely. It’s not just about keywords — it’s about offering valuable and compelling content.

@KristiKellogg   There is no reason for a business NOT to start a blog. A blog is SO worth the investment. You can’t afford not to have a blog.
@paulaspeak   Some industries don’t lend themselves to blogging. The CIA … and proctologists, to use an @Ammon_Johns example.

@victorpan   Some businesses can alleviate phone calls to their customer line via their blog :) Blogs aren’t always about increasing leads.

What are some of the most important metrics that should be measured to determine the success of a blog?

@ThomasJArmitage   I like when embedding media is within the posts and measuring those interactions. Videos plays. Downloads. Great to do A/B testing of conversions on-site during days with blog posts versus days without.

@RiaFiscina   Avg Pages per Session, setting up events for half and whole article reads.

@davidmalmborg   Avinash put out a great “Dashboard” post earlier this week, and think could be changed for the blog section.
@andrea_tuttle   As someone else said, it depends on your goals – but I use CRM tools to track behaviors towards conversions.
@scottcowley   I remember we used to track it through analytics at @seocom – conversions from blog subdirectory as landing pages.

@bloomreachinc   Traffic, shares, engagement, etc. Also leverage in other areas (lead gen, PR, drafts for ebooks and other content.

@MatthewAYoung   Engagement metrics like time on site, pages/visit, bounce, social shares, comments. RSS subscribers? or is that passe?
@RiaFiscina   Definitely something to monitor.
@scottcowley   Not passe at all, especially if you have a good e-mail marketing program that helps convert blog subscribers.
@alexpeerenboom   I don’t think so. Marketing/SE Land mentions some of their highest referral traffic is Feedly. Shows me RSS still works in some circles. But it’s important to allow visitors different ways to subscribe/follow.
@scottcowley   Been watching F500 corporate blogs – some removed the RSS feature in favor of e-mail subscriptions.

@alexpeerenboom   Standard metrics: pageviews, time on page, etc. Engagement metrics: social shares, comments, retweets, etc.
@gregdixson   oh yea comments too – a good indicator, although many sites doing away with comments in light of social.
@ThomasJArmitage   I’ve also been seeing many move away from comments. Too much spam. And social is easier.
@paulaspeak   I remember when @copyblogger turned off comments, preferring to engage in social media.
@gregdixson   yep opting for Google+.Other sites too, facebook commenting etc. No barriers-users often signed in anyway

@scottcowley   Metrics – # of leads/sales/microconversions from blog post entry pages, # of new visitors, # of backlinks to blog posts.
@shuey03   love micro conversions… something @avinash talks about a lot

@BruceClayInc   Traffic first and foremost, especially traffic that results in conversions.

@realemilylouisa   Gotta toss the social shares hat into the ring!

@GoBrandify   People often overlook the ratio of returning/new visitors and bounce rate. Those can be telling of your influence.

@ramirez_robert   Traffic, Retention (return visitors), Referrals (in the form of links) and Conversions (contact forms, time on page)

@KristiKellogg   It’s also important analyze WHERE the traffic is going. What topics are your users most interested in? Create more of it. Another thing to consider is when, where, and how your blog/articles are being quoted. Good articles should be referenced. You can also use ClearVoice to easily see what articles are being shared most across sites (@CVContent). I dig it.

@paulaspeak   The “most imp” metric depends on your goals, of course. But getting lots of engagement makes my day as a blogger.

@victorpan   Good metrics will flag what your next step should be. Bad content to visitor intent fit? Need CRO? etc.

@andrea_tuttle   Not trying for a personal plug, but I wrote about conversion KPIs and content recently. Might be helpful.

What are the core components of a solid blogging strategy?

@AlanBleiweiss   Focus on Educating, evoking emotion, expressing unique voice to succeed in blogging.

@strydedotcom   First, know your target audience, buyer personas, and their respective pain points. Don’t forget to repromote! Hitting publish and forgetting about the next day is such a waste of your time.
@ThomasJArmitage   Especially now that we know exactly how many Twitterers are actually seeing each tweet (i.e. very few)
@paulaspeak   Google Plus – favorite for this.

@MatthewAYoung   Be current, be timely in posting, know the audience for which you write. Have excellent editorial staff – wink wink @BruceClayInc

@GoBrandify   Solid posts with links within. Strong themes. Relevant posts. Reactive posts that create conversation.

@ramirez_robert   Understanding personas and crafting content that will engage your target reader.

@shuey03   Defining your audience and building out buyer/reader personas should top the list

@RiaFiscina   There are other parts, but I’m solidly behind annual audits, perhaps even semi-annually if you post a lot. This goes back to @KristiKellogg’s point earlier about knowing which topics hit home.
@gregdixson   Agreed. Researching topics and then drilling down to individual posts forms the best strategies.

@realemilylouisa   Make sure your content has a point and an opinion. Now is not the time to be meek!
@Tony_DWM   Very common: posts that leave readers confused or underwhelmed. Reader mentality: does it help, inspire, motivate?
@ThomasJArmitage   Nothing worse than finishing a post and thinking: “That’s it? What just happened?”
@Tony_DWM   You can tell when authors live & breathe topics. The words, style, insight, depth command respect.
@AuthorityLabs   Right, and less blah please! I would prefer 2 awesome posts a month than 20 just okay posts.

@gregdixson   Knowing you audience!!! Serving them with consistently with well researched content which will resonate with them.

@BruceClayInc   Consistency is a major component; you should be updating the blog 2-3 X a week. Other major factors are quality & relevance.

@alexpeerenboom   Know your resources: who can write, who can create photos/videos/graphics, who can provide data. Keep them organized.

@scottcowley   If you’re blogging for thought leadership, you have to bring something new to the table. Marketing bloggers still don’t get this. We’ve got a lot more thought followers than thought leaders in the blogosphere. Much more fun–in-depth research helps me become a much better writer and thinker in the process too. Important to remember that major corporations have many blogs–each targeting a specific topic/audience.

@ThomasJArmitage   Assign writers, topics & deadlines. Great to have several people invovled (many perspectives). And know when to expect content.

@KevinWaugh   A good component is accepting the idea of experimentation. Try new topics on the blog, something might stick.

@bloomreachinc   May sound obvious, but quality writing. We added a “storyteller” (@mikecassidy) 6 months ago. HUGE jump. @mikecassidy’s ability to uncover interesting stories and engage sources has really been wonderful.
@ThomasJArmitage   There’s def a difference between a [technical] writer and a storyteller.

@KristiKellogg   This is a good time to point out who’s actually writing for a blog matters very much. Your writers should be TOP QUALITY. Hire journalists with proven track records that can write and research like nobody’s business. DON’T SKIMP in this area. Let’s just be real — author rank IS coming.

@davidmalmborg   I think newsletters need to be on the list.
@GoGetterVette   I agree,blog posts need to be sent out. Doesn’t stop after you click ‘publish’ Ppl need a sign up for updates.

@victorpan   Cover an audience need better than everyone else, and do so with style. good storytelling gives you style points. Have a content promotion strategy. You know, so you actually do work that reaches people.
@gregdixson   Yes, a sharing schedule for each piece of content (share more than once, cover timezones, etc.)

@strydedotcom   Might be obvious, but edit and proof-read all posts.
@KristiKellogg   YES to the people talking about proofreading — editors are essential, even it’s just one writer editing the other writer’s post.

@danbarker   1. intended audiences 2. content themes 3. frequency of above 4. promo means 5. tech 6. measures 7. review points

@HilaryB_SWK   This is more “blogging best practices” than CORPORATE blogging best practices. There are limits to corporate blogging. Suddenly you have to be the voice of many people in a company–and having a clear personality can get tricky.
@dan_patterson   Maybe break it up in different ways?
@HilaryB_SWK   The content? such as give varying views on a single facet of the company/products?
@dan_patterson   I was thinking more have a few different voices. Each “personality” covers a different aspect of the company.

@ramirez_robert   BTW, @iPullRank has written the bible for IDing personas. Not exclusively blog relevant, but very useful.

When producing blog content, what types of content work best in a corporate environment and why?

@andrea_tuttle   It depends on the industry
@GoBrandify   Agree with @andrea_tuttle but if it shows that a company is truly knowledgeable about its industry, it will work.

@JoelKlettke   Content format should be dictated by audience/objective not the fact that you’re a corporation. Asking “what format works for corporations” is totally backwards because it negates unique audience, subject matter, etc. This Q shows me how many marketers are stuck on “paint by numbers” solutions and so-called “best practices” that aren’t.

@Tony_DWM   Very common: posts that leave readers confused or underwhelmed. Reader mentality: does it help, inspire, motivate? And the ‘unwritten contract’ is broken. Every post req’s a responsibility to know thy audience!
@AuthorityLabs   Honestly, I just want to learn something, anything so I know I didn’t waste my time on the click.

@CVContent   When producing blog content for any environment, the most important aspect is knowing your audience.

@gregdixson   Corporate is usually long form articles, B2b info, Stats. The key is to find interesting ways to present sometimes boring info.

@BruceClayInc   It depends on the industry, but across the board, though, a professional, informative & positive brand voice are desirable.

@bloomreachinc   Context for whatever it is your company does. Cover the bigger picture where your people or tech make an impact.

@ThomasJArmitage   I feel like long video posts & infographics work best for corporate. These readers want to learn moreso than just be entertained. Do the test: Would my target audience GAF? Is there a takeaway that makes readers want to share? Is it a pleasant read?

@danbarker   First define ‘best’ based on intended outcome (sales, shares, links, idea promotion, goodwill, registration, etc).

@scottcowley   Best content (from PR survey that @kelseylibert shared): exlusive research, breaking news, relevant.

@dan_patterson   You’ll have hits and misses. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but also track what you’ve done to see what grabs attention.

@davidmalmborg   Does content curation help or hinder your creation process?
@strydedotcom   Helps! Creating blindly without looking what’s already out there is doing yourself a disservice.
@JoelKlettke   TOTALLY depends on what you’re curating & why. If no unique value add, enormous waste of time.

@strydedotcom   On the whole, a corporate blog will function very differently than, say, a travel blog. Tone and length come to mind first, corporate blogs might need to be more authoritative and/or informative.

@Tony_DWM   For good examples of short posts that kick butt (not all need to be long) see @JoelKlettke’s blog. August is ‘short-post’ month.

@Thos003   With all this talk of blogs & content, we need to realize consumers control the media they consume today. Produce consumable media.

@KristiKellogg   It’s also important for any blog to stand out & be interesting — corporate or otherwise. Offer something unique.

@paulaspeak   Corporate blogs that are primarily promotional miss the mark. Need to mostly help, educate &/or entertain about your subject.

@scottcowley   In some ways, doing curation WELL is harder than doing unique content well, since it requires really discriminant taste.

@victorpan   Something with a SFW tag ;) Data driven posts also make your readers feel smarter. e.g. #SFW

What are the most important things you can do to get your blog content seen by the right audience?

@strydedotcom   Highly targeted social promotion, with great copy that reinforces the great content.

@CVContent   Present content where your unique audience lives; they aren’t going to come to you!

@KristiKellogg   Encourage sharing by collaborating w/ influencers. Their audience becomes your audience – & therein lie new opportunities. Invest in paid promotions, as well. Test and retest and retest again to achieve the highest ROI.
@GoGetterVette   brilliant idea. Do u have tips on how to approach influencers?
@KristiKellogg   Authenticity. & offer influencers opportunities 2collaborate that are mutually beneficial. We’re all in it together.

@ThomasJArmitage   Must take time to craft social posts for the blog. Custom, branded image. Provoking headline. Easily shareable. Promoted w/ $

@realemilylouisa   When you go to promote via social, vary you tone/copy on each platform it’s shared on.

@scottcowley   How does BuzzFeed get the right audience? By making their headlines SO hypertargeted, resulting in immediate self-selection. Sometimes, it’s OK to say “this post is specifically for project managers in their mid-30′s in New England.”
@AuthorityLabs   I love when people do that!
@scottcowley   It’s like I’m forced to click if the headline is specific enough. And then I say “I can’t believe I fell for it.”

@bloomreachinc   It’s a mix of social, email, paid, lead nurturing, PR pickups and enabling usage by account management, sales, etc.

@victorpan   Be where they are. Know their habits. Try out similarweb – add social and display ads. Email… be everywhere!

@KevinWaugh   Promote on social properly, don’t use same terms between them and expect results. Also use rich snippets in each network.

@gregdixson   Social sharing to get eyeballs. Ensure everything is formatted correctly – especially facebook OG tags.

@BruceClayInc   The starting point for getting your blog content seen is research — find out where your desired audience is and be there.

@stonetemple   Email still works, but other channels are often better. InMail is really good, as is G+ since you can DM there.

Summary: Careers & The Future of the SEO Role on #SEOchat

Moderator: @BloomReachInc

How do you want others in the org to perceive you? And the SEO role?

@Sonray   Marketer Top to Bottom first and foremost.

@lancemoore22   Honest, tech savvy, learner, and a helper.
@ThinkSEM   Love that you emphasize both learning & teaching. So important!

@ThinkSEM   Because SEO is always changing & evolving, we want to be seen as staying on top of trends & growing our skills.
@bloomreachinc   One step ahead is the place to be (and be seen)

@alexpeerenboom   An educator, a trusted partner.
@paulaspeak   Trustworthy and expert are essential.

@KevinWaugh   I want others in my org to look to us for guidance on digital efforts. SEO is the most fast changing compared to print or email.

@BruceClayInc   We have earned a reputation for being a thought-leading, knowledge-transferring, always ethical firm. Which is exactly what we are and how we want to be seen.

@MatthewAYoung   As the voice of reason for sound online marketing know-how. What we do is make websites better – simple as that. Team player is part of it too – SEOs also have to play nicely with SMMs, SEMs, CROs, designers, etc.

@MichaelMooneyy   Constantly-evolving, results/data guided, anti-ego, customer focused, product concerned.
@lancemoore22   Results driven is KEY!

@KristiKellogg   As a content strategist, I want to be seen as an top-tier writer/journalist that also keeps #SEO & marketing in mind.
@bloomreachinc   Great to see the focus on content and not just the technical side of SEO.
@KristiKellogg   Thanks! We’ve got to keep the reader in mind, first and foremost.

@miklevin   As the seer and connector of difficult-to-see dots, with the communication ability to help others do exactly the same.

@bloomreachinc   Sounds like being a savvy educator who is one step ahead is the way everyone wants to be perceived.

Team player is part of it too – SEOs also have to play nicely with SMMs, SEMs, CROs, designers, etc.

@MatthewAYoung   Getting to the top levels of the org. Distilling complex ideas for CMOs. also getting better at producing killer pots of coffee.

@lancemoore22   Content writing, website design, local optimization, and much more.

@alexpeerenboom   Since joining the great @daylightstudio team, more coding and design skills.

@Sonray   Sales is a good way to learn how to talk about complex issues while learning how other SEOs fail the client.
@MatthewAYoung   Absolutely. May not be selling products, but an SEO needs to sell concepts to have buy in.

@KevinWaugh   Data analysis, more data heavy languages (SQL, Mongo, Hadoop etc) transition from SEO to CX, BI ventures. At least for me.

@BruceClayInc   The most successful Internet marketing keeps #SEO, #PPC, #contentmarketing & #socialmedia in mind- so we need all these skills.

@miklevin   In the build vs. buy equation, everyone can buy the same tools. Focus on build, or maybe using bought-tools in unexpected ways.

@KristiKellogg   Savvy research skills and the ability to deftly mine analytics are skills every #SEO and #contentmarketer NEED.

@HortenseSoulier   Understanding how social media works with SEO, content distribution and outreach.

Careers are built on results and visibility. Assuming you have results, how are you getting visibility?

@MatthewAYoung   LinkedIn, guest authoring, submitting pitches for panels at conferences, the list goes.It’s all about engagement. I think it’s all about awareness, presentation – not just about data, but also about narrative.

@Sonray   Focus on bringing value to my clients and saying yes to every opportunity offered. The rest happens on its own.

@AdamDince   IMO, Visibility relies on your ability to sell results & your role in achieving them. Selling is an important skill.

@HortenseSoulier   For search/community visibility: being consistently involved in social media, creating personal content & branding. Inside the org, being proactive, offer insights/help and people will naturally think of getting you involved.

@BruceClayInc   White papers, blog posts, newsletter articles, social media, awards, conference presentations, books, our weekly radio show.

@KristiKellogg   High-quality articles. Anything that isn’t high-quality erodes your personal brand. Every article should be useful and unique.

@KevinWaugh   Visibility comes down to this tactic: Grow org I’m with now, document all of it, build network on Twitter & Linkedin.

@miklevin   You have to be an expert on things OTHER than SEO so to != echo chamber. I’m teaching the world to run @Raspberry_Pi as servers.

Let’s say you’re promoted, who would you hire to fill your role? How would their skills differ from yours when you started?

@Sonray   Depends on what the weakness of the team is; race your strengths and train your weakness!
@KevinWaugh   I think trying to plug a weakness on the team with a person makes the team riskier at turnover. In scenario of adding person to plug weakness, both. Someone else leaves, new hire is behind 8 ball. For the team, skills gap gets wider, with loss productivity trying to cover weakness till training complete.
@Sonray   Which makes cross training important. Skills shouldn’t be silo’d & we expect our team to train others.
@KevinWaugh   Cross training is essential, but many orgs avoid it, main “reason” is loss time on main skill’s use.
@Sonray   Cross training & learning is essential to our philosophy. Holistic marketing is our focus.
@KevinWaugh   For an agency that works, for an org that has the assembly line mentality, it’s a struggle.

@MatthewAYoung   Panda and Penguin werent around when I started, so any new hire should have a firm grasp of algorithms. Content marketing know-how is a must for anyone entering the SEO field. Interested in someone who sees SEO as kaizen. Not a practice of finding smoking guns, but small improvements in succession.
@KevinWaugh   Those individuals who see that will see bigger business problems too IME.

@SydneyRThompson   Coming from an intern, I would give it to any starving college student eager to learn about PR and SEO w/ good work ethic.
@KevinWaugh   Work Ethic + Thirst to learn + Drvie to take new projects? I’ll take those folks day in day out.

@miklevin   If you can actually be replaced, you have not been doing your best. Hire someone with curiosity and passion.

@HortenseSoulier   Not necessarily experienced but quick and eager to learn, easy to train.

Who do you look at in the SEO field and aspire to be like?

@KristiKellogg   Bruce Clay (@BruceClayInc). He is THE Godfather of #SEO and we all know it. #NoOneEvenComesClose

@SydneyRThompson   My boss @lisabuyer, it still astounds me how she manages to balance work and life and is a social PR genius

@vitaminEDU   Definitely someone who has a deep (and balanced) understanding of analytics, SEO, and content.

@JennineMiller   There are so many but @jlaratro is a phenomenal SEO, always eager to help others learn & do better! Don’t know how he does it!

@Sonray   Oh, opportunity to love on someone! I’ve looked up to @portentint for many years. He’s a knowledgeable giver!

@MatthewAYoung   As a former @BruceClayInc employee, I will give him the obligatory nod. But there are so many others. Content and context is huge to me so I look to Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) for inspiration.

@KevinWaugh   I don’t know if I aspire to be like anyone in #SEO, call it rude or selfish, I just kind of sponge of the hive mind more.

@HortenseSoulier   Everybody :) mainly @DavidAmerland, @aaranged (Aaron Bradley), @ajkohn, @stonetemple (Eric Enge), @bill_slawski, @Ammon_Johns

@miklevin   Either the brains behind @Mashable Velocity or the similarly clever folks making landing pages viable again.

What are your concerns – the things that could impede an SEO pro from moving up the ladder?

@BruceClayInc   Failure to stay on top (EVERY DAY) of algo update, changes and news. Failure to stay up-to-date makes for a useless #SEO.
@SydneyRThompson   I agree, I feel like every day I learn about another tool, news headline, social media site, it can be overwhelming!

@miklevin   Integrity. You have to call things out as busy make-work when that’s what it is and not make everyone push on ropes. When sites “top out” at the amount of traffic they can generate given their current content, clients need honesty.

@MatthewAYoung   That SEO becomes an automated process. SEOs lose site of other marketing avenues, that SEO is part of the whole. SEO cannot exist in a marketing vacuum.

@Sonray   Believing the hype and propaganda.

@KevinWaugh   That SEO is not marketing, copy writing, IT or even design & development. Most orgs have IC roles for SEO, which top out sooner.

@HortenseSoulier   Failure to integrate SEO with other departments so it’s not part of the strategy development process but focused on technical.

@KristiKellogg   Lack of ethics. Comply w/ Google guidelines, or reap the consequences; take a short cut & you will face the music eventually.

Summary: Link Building for Local SEO on #SEOchat

Moderator: @tannerpetroff

The Pigeon update just came along. Who has noticed significant changes in traffic since the update?

@tannerpetroff   I haven’t noticed any earth-shattering changes, but for some companies, I’ve seen a drop in traffic with fewer ‘pack’ results.

How important do you feel links are for local SEO? Why?

@tannerpetroff    I feel like links are always undervalued for local. With as personalized & localized as search has become, those links send some really powerful signals for localized search results.

@KristiKellogg   A link is a link is a link — as long as it’s high quality and well-deserved, a link will help you rank. If we’re going to get specific, it’s also advantageous to get links from city or county-related sites. Keep it geo-relevant.

@GoBrandify   Links are important for SEO but there are more factors that contribute to successful local SEO. We call them “The Six Pillars”.

Which types of local results do you like to see (and rank for) most? (local organic, map pack, carousel, etc)

@tannerpetroff   Local organic & map packs are sending a lot of leads for my clients. Haven’t seen much good come from carousel results yet.

How do you feel links compare to citations for ranking a website locally?

@tannerpetroff   Still might be too early to tell, but I think links are taking on more weight since Pigeon. Still not quite that of citations.

@ramirez_robert   Links becoming more and more important, but I think citations are a trust factor for local listings – wouldnt abandon them yet

@Tony_DWM   Both fundamental & show Google ‘entity’ proof. NAP irregularities & review spam can result in loss of rankings.
@tannerpetroff   So true. I’ve seen some NAP horror stories that have taken months or years to clean up.
@Tony_DWM   Same! Key is getting clients to ensure that NAP’s are identical. Had one today where G+ had ’82a’ street # & NAP had ’82′ :( My suggestion. Provide a basic NAP format & get clients to use. Simple? Hell yes. Effective? You bet :)
@tannerpetroff   Do you have a specific format you have everyone follow?
@Tony_DWM   We create a co info data-sheet incl NAP, emails, tels, prod / serv descriptions, specialisms, payment, hours etc. The key is to make the process for us / our clients as *simple* to use as poss (ie idiot proof!) So forethought req. That data-sheet can then be expanded to other areas of online marketing. Suggest adding accreditations / qual’s too!

How do you prospect for locally relevant links?

@tannerpetroff   My favorite thing to do is give testimonials to local services I use all the time.

@BruceClayInc   Find your most successful competitors and examine their link profile for local opportunities.

@lancemoore22   Research competitors links, look for local blogs, look for local newspapers.
@tannerpetroff   Totally. Chances are your competitors have local links. Find ‘em!

@NicJM34   I’ll do a quick google search for competitors, run a backlink report and work that list.

@ramirez_robert   Social media monitoring can be useful and reveal link opportunities from people/ groups that are active in your community.
@tannerpetroff   Very interesting. I’ve used social monitoring for industry related opportunities, but not local. Great tip!
@NicJM34   I love @RavenTools social monitoring! Awesome tool for building links in an active conversation!

What are some of your favorite resources or tools for localized link building?

@tannerpetroff   For resources, here’s an oldie, but a goodie from the Moz blog. For tools, I use @whitespark almost every day. Also an old resource, but came across this the other day from @SEERInteractive.

@Tony_DWM   Google (!), your own circle of suppliers, customers, influencers & biz relationships (networking, communities)
@tannerpetroff   I’m amazed that when I ask clients if they have connections that would link to them and they say “No.”
@Tony_DWM   That’s because they view links the wrong way. Would they tweet or socially share someone’s info? Link is no diff :)

@KristiKellogg   Given the topic of #seochat, I think it’s OK to promote this article I wrote recently: “Optimize your Local Business”.

What questions do you have for your peers you want answered?

@lancemoore22   What tools do you use to get listed in the big directories like: Localeze, Acxiom, InfoUSA, etc.

Summary: Customer Discovery Funnel on #SEOchat

Moderator: @peoplesknees and @CaitlinBoroden from @DragonSearch

Every online biz has steps that people take to become a customer. What’s your # 1 conversion goal?

@Sonray   Making my clients oodles of money so they can swim through it like my friend here.

@andrea_tuttle   Our initial conversion goal is a form submission, expressing interest, but our #1 conversion goal is a signed contract!
@CaitlinBoroden   Yes, a form submission is an excellent first step in the funnel. Conversions often take time.

@JennineMiller   It varies for each client but a generic first goal is to get a request for more info, be it a download or contact form.
@peoplesknees    Yes, definitely. Good conversions are either us (the biz) getting more info or them (customer) receiving more info.

User experience on your website is key to keeping users on site & converting. What makes a great user experience? The worst?

@Sonray   It’s 2014, why are we still taking over screens and using popups?!?! The good is when a website tests every aspect in an effort to improve little by little.
@CallMeLouzander   Couldn’t agree more. Makes the user feel out of control. Don’t be that website!

@andrea_tuttle   Clear calls-to-action, intuitive navigation, NO POP UPS

@KevinWaugh   Simplicity and definition is a great UX to me, sometimes there is too much noise. This 100x times easier and better than a complete redesign.
@Sonray   It’s a responsible way to make sure those changes don’t get misinterpreted by search engines too

@Etela   The page has to provide what the user came for – know your users, what their needs are & give it to them on the landing page. And then you collect data and test continually.
@CaitlinBoroden   I always try and think in the users shoes. Okay, they’re sitting at their desk/on their phone. What will they do next?

@scottkrager   SPEED above all else. A zippy fast website is a happy website and happy visitors.

@CallMeLouzander   A site that knows why it exists. I’m surprised by how many sites are just a nest of content with no focus.

@JennineMiller   Better mobile experiences. This @Bruceclayinc blog explains it all.

Tell us about a situation where you discovered a conversion obstacle! What was it? How did you discover it?

@Sonray   Client was recommending products mid-checkout which confused users & caused abandonment; plotted the checkout.

@peoplesknees   Speaking of mobile (@JennineMiller) I once discovered on a site images were hoover only, click & sent to home page. #nogood
@JennineMiller   Really! That’s awful! Can you imagine the amount of potential clients lost from frustration?
@CaitlinBoroden   Another frustration with mobile.. fonts too tiny!

@Etela   CTA lead to a 404 page.

What’s your process of analyzing conversion funnels & obstacles? How do you identify things that others missed?

@Sonray   Call me old fashion but I manually map out the journey & variables then analyze GA if that was setup correctly.

@KevinWaugh   I walk through the process, over and over. The Book “Outside In” discusses this.

@peoplesknees   Sometimes I try to *be* the customer going through my website’s ideal conversion funnel. Step into their shoes.

@sydrenee5   I would look at it from a customers perspective and try to perfect what they are seeing. Go over it again and again.
@Etela   Yes, put yourself into the client’s shoes. Also examine the collected data, analyze and look for opportunities.

@JennineMiller   Test it yourself, have co-workers test, have clients test & then evaluate. Can’t fix it if you don’t know where it’s broken.

Do you ever think about it: Once a user converts, what do you want them to do next?

@Sonray   Enter the next funnel! Read a blog post, engage on social, hug someone.

@tomtheseoguy   Share, share and share again!

@KevinWaugh   Move to being a brand advocate (a commodity), which we can do by creating a post conversion experience to win over more. I want them to look like this.
@Sonray   Best use of a stock image I’ve seen in months! +1 good sir. +1!
@CallMeLouzander   Absolutely. Post-conversion like review (user-generated content) & feedback. Good source of ideas.

@sydrenee5   Have the best possible experience so they are willing to share and share and share again to maximize traffic. Maybe it’s because of my age but I have noticed that utilizing videos that catch customers attention works very well.

@JennineMiller   In a sweepstakes we’re running right now, once the person converts (enters) the next page makes it easy for them to share! I would forget otherwise and I’m happy to write something and appreciate their concern with my experience

@Etela   Depends on goals but be satisfied w/ the purchase so they return again, write review, share w/ their networks, become advocates.

Let’s touch on testing CTAs: What’s the biggest tip you’d give to a newbie?

@RiaFiscina   A/B test your heart out.

@Sonray   Pay attention to what the PPC team is doing.

@CallMeLouzander   Make the text descriptive. What will clicking get them and why do they want that outcome?

@sydrenee5   I AM a newbie so I would just find a pro and practice practice and get lots of great explanations from this chat.

@Etela   To actually DO it! So many times people just talk the talk but don’t actually do it

@JennineMiller   Re: CTAs #JustDoIt
@Sonray   lol, made me think of Nike’s robots.txt file.

What role do you see mobile taking in the conversion funnel? Any predictions for the future?

@KevinWaugh   It will reduce barrier of entry of being in front of a stationary place, it will expand times of opportunity also.

@sydrenee5   Is it safe to say I feel like mobile is just going to take over everything, everywhere.

@CallMeLouzander   Great question. Seems not all industries should expect same conv rate on mobile as desktop. Some users research on mobile but purchase on desktop. Thoughts? Optimizing for mobile is essential. But know your audience and how they shop.
@Sonray   It could change on product even but totally agree!
@peoplesknees   That’s true! And sometimes i’m in the store shopping and doing comparison shopping on my phone!
@CaitlinBoroden   I agree! For some reason I feel more comfortable entering credit card info on a desktop instead of my phone.
@KevinWaugh   Think that is generational, they want to call & place order out of fear of online, but we just place order on web.
@RiaFiscina   Not too sure on this. It’s difficult for me to enter my info on a mobile device, so I use my comp. It’s likely due to improper implementation of responsive design. Or lack of forethought about it.
@CallMeLouzander   Not necessarily. If product is really expensive, requires purchase orders or requisition forms, won’t sell on mobile.
@JennineMiller   I think it’s a combo of responsive design & safety. I feel like people can hack my phone more easily.
@JennineMiller   You can do mobile to in-store conversions too. @Target’s amazing app Cartwheel does just that.
@Sonray   My wife will not get off of that app. Drives me nuts when we’re in the store!
@JennineMiller   Haha nice, but you can see how mobile makes it happen @Sonray. I bought things I would have forgone because of good discounts.

Summary: MozCon themes & takeaways on #SEOchat

Moderator: @Sonray

With superb internet available, the social media component to mozcon was crazy! How did you follow along & could you keep up?

@noeticsound   I sadly didn’t tune in at all. hoping to catch up this weekend on the news. Some colleagues were there, and i’m hoping that some good writeups emerge. maybe you’ve got the hot links.

@RiaFiscina   I couldn’t keep up. I tried!

@alexpeerenboom   Dedicated hashtag column in my Tweetdeck and I just followed along as best as I could.

@aaronmarth   I kept my eye on the steady stream of conf tweets during. I’m planning on going thru all the decks, notes and blog posts now.

@Sonray   .@hallstigerts took EPIC #MozCon 2014 notes. Also, @gzlatin has been hunting for comments for his blog post rumored to drop tomorrow. Aaron was one of the most epic tweeters at #mozcon, his stream is worth the review! @sitecrafting.

@alexpeerenboom   All the decks are posted online.

One of the major takeaways I got was to TEST for yourself. How many of us are running regular tests? On what?

@KevinWaugh   ”Testing is not needed, we know our customer” – An out of touch marketing person. #theystillexist #theywontdie. It’s an ego thing, most time it is HIPPOs in an org. If they might be wrong, they shut down the dialogue.

@Sonray   Try, Experiment, Success, Teach…just made that up. Meant more along the lines of testing the theories we learn about to see how they apply/work for us.

@noeticsound   Nowadays i’m working with ads. testing is constant: sites, creative, timing. i love running parallel campaigns test v control. With SEO in enterprise, controlled testing is really challenging. so much of the work is education and buy in. I really value testing, but it just so rarely happened in SEO. when it did, it wasn’t controlled. maybe i was the problem.

@Sonray   What are you testing on Mobile? Speed? CTR? Conversions?
@lisabuyer   Mobile experience in social media channels.

@GoGetterVette   used to do buyer’s cycle, landing pages forms, but not actual Google or FB ads

@joshmccormack   Part of our biz is QA testing. Test on dozens of OS/Browser/hardware combos (mobile too) and see many problems. Web dev, QA testing & strategy. Mainly post dev, real users trying out sites on everything possible.

Theme 1: Big agencies & PR firms are coming for us. Are you taking this seriously? What evidence do you see?

@lisabuyer   Big agencies and PR firms need a crash course in #SEO and #Social because they tried to ignore change.

@Sonray   Do you follow PR or Mad Ave marketing firms? Are you building out your skills to match theirs?
@noeticsound   I guess i am a mad aver…not literally but at big global agency in NYC. don’t think the skills are so different though.
@GoGetterVette   What skills are necessary? Meaning SEO/PR/marktg hybrid workers? I do follow some PR and marketing agencies?
@Sonray   PR firms tend to have the relationships but SEO’s understand the value of links.
@KevinWaugh   I’ll add my thoughts: code (HTML at least) metadata, copywriting, site architecture, analytics.
@GoGetterVette   What I aim for. Jack of all trades,there’s a big demand for ppl who can see the big picture and execute well.
@JennineMiller   Yes & no. Build skills you need & have time to work on but don’t offer things you’re not going to be able to keep up with. Worst experience was working for a PR firm that decided out of the blue to offer social media services. Those poor clients.

Theme 2: Using social to yoink competitor’s strategy – where is your favorite place to go to steal your competitor’s cheese?

@Sonray   Examples included scraping competitors open twitter lists and finding similar communities via Open Graph.

@sydrenee5   I like using Facebook’s pages to follow feature, just to keep tabs and see what works that we could repurpose.
@Sonray   Do you track via IFTTT or just follow in your regular feed? What things excite you. I use IFTTT and Evernote; makes my stalking stealth and on my terms.
@sydrenee5   Using the regular feed right now, still trying to set up my formulas for IFTT, and just seeing what works for them! We follow via facebook interests so you don’t have to like competitors pages, don’t want to give them the extra help.

@noeticsound   Glad you brought this up. not using social per se, but derivation is often my first move. who’s good? what do they do?
@Sonray   Competitive stalking could easily be it’s own.
@joshmccormack   From my tenure on “Madison Avenue” big ad agencies are a facade with acct execs, designers and little else.

@lisabuyer   @followerwonk is kind of cool for 007 investigatiions. You can compare followers.
@Sonray   All My Tweets is great too!

Theme 3: Just do it. Goals, A/B testing & Content ideas – what or who inspires you to stay on your game & push your limits?

@sydrenee5   My boss ;D @lisabuyer

@JennineMiller   My teammates and myself. We push our own limits and each other because we love getting things right. @thebuyergroup love!

@alexpeerenboom   The community. This chat, live tweets from Mozcon, Hangouts. It’s great seeing ideas and info being shared.

Theme 4: Technical SEO vs. Content – Which is providing you a greater return?

@DerekOstler   I have had huge success with Technical SEO with new clients. After the techincal stuff is done then we focus on content.

@JakubMovic   Technical SEO is always number one. Especially with clients with smaller budget

Many speakers were discussing how they improve communication via reporting – is this a focus of yours? What steps do you take?

@DerekOstler   Reporting is always good; however, reporting on the right things like traffic, sales, CRO, etc is what they really care about.
@Sonray   And educating on why those metrics matter!

@KevinWaugh   I try to tailor the report to the audience, senior people get cliff notes and pictures, peers get more detailed stuff.

@Etela   In reporting but also overall communications; we need to ensure they understand how what we do ties into their biz goals.

@RiaFiscina   Yes. I’ve developed quite a few new reports over the past year. The most important part is BE CLEAR.

Summary: Exclusive Publisher Research and Content Marketing Best Practices on #SEOchat

Moderator: @KelseyLibert

@KelseyLibert   The first half of the #SEOchat we’ll focus on #content creation, and the second half we’ll focus on how to get your content placed. The data in this #SEOchat is based off of an exclusive study I did with over 500 digital publishers.

How many stories do you think the average writer publishes per day?

@SEOAware   Good writers are okay writers?
@KelseyLibert   Great question. Let’s say the average top-tier writer at a Time, CNN, etc. So, great writers!
@SEOAware   I am honestly not sure. I do more than write :) If I only had writing to do I wonder if I could publish more.
@nikipayne   I wonder the same thing.

@MichelleDLowery   A top-tier writer likely doesn’t publish every day because top-tier content should take more than a few hours to create. Well, there are so many variables, too. What type of story? How long? For what type of venue? How much research is needed?
@nikipayne   Good point. A1: I honestly don’t think there is a one size fits all answer to this question.
@CallMeLouzander   I agree- short piece on something familiar vs new topic makes big difference.
@MichelleDLowery   Exactly. The existing knowledge the writer brings is important.
@SEOAware   Yeah, for me coming up with unique topics takes a good amount of time.
@MichelleDLowery   Ideation, research, editing…content creation is about much more than just the writing.
@SEOAware   I come up with topics & try to ensure my ideas are not similar to rehashed content.
@MichelleDLowery   Agreed. Sometimes, though, I think it’s possible to take existing content and write from a different perspective.
@BrianHarnish   I agree! Writing from a different perspective can create a unique spin on existing content ideas.
@SEOAware   I agree, but as soon as I feel like I am reading “rehashed” I am out of there :) @AlanBleiweiss Yeah its all about adding real value to an already written about topic.
@KelseyLibert   It’s also great to take one angle, and do a short study to expand upon it. Then you bring something new.
@MichelleDLowery   Exactly. Did the writer leave something out? Has something changed since original piece was published?
@KelseyLibert   It also gets a great discussion going, between two parties who may have different views.
@BrianHarnish   Hey – SEO is dead!!! Now that’s rehashed ;)
@russiansearchmk   Yes, we often use Russian content and offer a perspective for international clients.

@MatthewAYoung   Depends on whether theyre paid by the word
@nikipayne   Do people still do that? I don’t think I’ve ever been paid by word before
@MatthewAYoung   Yes, they do. Though I think theyre the wrong people you want writing your content.

@KristiKellogg   I write .5 #SEO stories a day … i.e. 2 a week … and that’s on a good week. Quality articles take time. I will say that news stories are a different creature. My all-time record was 12 stories in 1 day. That was a long day.

@tannerpetroff   I bet the “average” writer publishes more than once a day. Great writers take their time.
@KelseyLibert   Great point! It’s easy to do spinoff articles, but when writing high quality content, the research takes more time.

@AlanBleiweiss   Yeah one of my 4,000 word posts takes time. Not going to do that daily, or every week.
@MatthewAYoung   My posts have a tendency to be weighty tomes as well – nothing like 4k words though.
@AlanBleiweiss   Well to be fair, some of mine are shorter. Like 1500 to 2,000 words.
@MatthewAYoung   That’s about right for me. Sometimes drives the editors crazy when theyre looking for 450. I got a lot to say!

When pitching writers, do you usually pitch ideas to collaborate on, or do you pitch a finished asset?

@MatthewAYoung   A combination of both. I try to make ideas fresh with new perspectives.

@rymcgonagill   I like to pitch ideas for collaboration, especially when dealing with previous contacts.

@tannerpetroff   I try to pitch half-polished ideas. Open to collaboration, but polished enough that they can say yes/no.

@CallMeLouzander   At the very least you want to know that you’re writing to address a need or answer a question, so some collaboration is needed.

@PassionFruitCG   It’s a bit different for us because our content creation is aimed at clients, although we guest post here and there.

@KelseyLibert   Looks like most people are into collaborating, which is great because it’s what 70% of top tier writers want!

What characteristics does the perfect piece of content possess?

@CaroSamsing   Content creation has a context, good timing and is reader’s focused. You don’t get that combination right unless you iterate. The most important piece is that it’s relevant for your target audience.

@rymcgonagill   Original/exclusive research should always be #1.

@SEOAware   Actionable tips, sources, educational info.

@BruceClayInc   It anticipates audience needs & answers them. It is optimized for search. It is well researched and written. Includes graphics.

@MatthewAYoung   Part news, part opinion (though not much), part application, part relevance, and a whole lot of quality. You also have to speak to the audience as well. Know who you are writing for and sometimes the rest flows from that.
@KelseyLibert   Many content marketers struggle with targeting a campaign to the publisher’s audience, not their client’s agenda.
@MatthewAYoung   Exactly. It’s a fine line. Achieving the marketing/content objectives and keeping clients happy. As @garyvee would say, it’s not so much about content as it is about context.

@CallMeLouzander   Sometimes it’s about taking complex topics and making them more comprehensible; that can be a real value for readers.
@rymcgonagill   yes to this 1000 times! Making something more easily digestible is always a great tactic.

@AlanBleiweiss   Good content characteristics: add value, solve a problem, answer a question, evoke emotion. Depends on situation.

@KristiKellogg   It is valuable, unique, creative, thoughtful, edited- it cites quality sources. It is a useful resource. It is engaging.

@PassionFruitCG   It’s genuine. Not pandering to the audience, providing real value with both data and understanding behind it.
@CallMeLouzander   yes, gimmicks are a way of disguising that you’ve got nothing to say!

@PeterThistle   Perfect content contains something new to a given audience: factual information, or interpretation of, insights into.

@tannerpetroff   I think amazing content is the stuff that resonates with who you’re speaking to, whether it’s short, simple informative, etc.

What content formats do you find to be most successful? For example, infographics vs videos, etc?

@andrea_tuttle   I’ve found the most success with infographics or checklists.
@KelseyLibert   Is there a certain vertical you find checklists to work best in?
@andrea_tuttle   Markets who seek quick education or guidance. I find that checklists serve as bite-size instructional content.

@rymcgonagill   Formats that can effectively communicate the information as simply as possible. If this is a regular infographic, great.

@SEOAware   I find that meeting a need, offering a solution(s) and pleasing the visual eye often ends in success.

@alexpeerenboom   Content that involves the audience- surveys, interviews, etc. You get their expertise & help in promotion.
@CallMeLouzander   exactly. Audience engagement means audience investment.

@MatthewAYoung   This all depends on the audience you want to reach and where the audience resides. 9 second vids on Facebook are good for that audience, gifs on tumblr are good for that audience, etc.

@MichelleDLowery   Again, it depends on the information being conveyed, to whom, and for what purpose. Not all content is ideal for infographics.
@andrea_tuttle   Very true. But I have found that they get high CTR and perform the best in organic search.
@MichelleDLowery   But again, those stats would depend on the topic and the audience.

@BruceClayInc   Content dictates format. Some things work better in infographics (statistics) & others are better in video (real-time chats).
@MatthewAYoung   And context dictates the content.
@CallMeLouzander   @MatthewAYoung What was it you said about context first? Guess you’re onto something…audience determines content and format.
@MatthewAYoung   Yes, the content on the site is different than the content published on Twitter, FB, G+, Snapchat, Vine, Instagram. And so different are the audiences for each platform. Tell the same story across all and marketers miss out.

@CaroSamsing   Platforms play an important roll on the formatting of content. It’s important to be aware that every channel has it’s language.

@BradyDCallahan   Depends on industry of client, but find video works best mostly because it takes time/money & few do it well.

@russiansearchmk   We love providing info graphics when they are relevant to the content piece, especially when providing #marketresearch.

@SEOAware   I don’t think anything can be successful until you define your audiences and determine what they need and/or want.

@victorpan   Infographics, charts, listicles, case studies, blogs, how-tos… it really depends on the target audience’s favorite medium.

@KelseyLibert   Looks like everyone agrees that the audience should be the central focus point when deciding on content format.

@KelseyLibert   If you want to create something that can be widely syndicated, data visualizations are the way to go. #SEOchat (@tableau hint hint)

@KelseyLibert   Next up in the #SEOchat, let’s discuss how to get your #contentmarketing campaigns placed with high-authority publishers!

If you were to weigh the importance of networking before pitching, how important would it be?

@victorpan   Relationships pre-seed your success. If you’ve already established trust, content promotion is a breeze. Super important.

@PassionFruitCG   Very. Otherwise, you’re just cold calling, and no one enjoys that, least of all those being called.

@SEOAware   Networking is critical.

@tannerpetroff   For top-tier content, I’d go with 11 on a scale of 1-10.

@feviyu   Easy to pitch but who is going to listen unless they know you?

@victorpan   Kick-ass content will help you create relationships. Hard-selling content your target doesn’t care about loses them.

@vitaminEDU   Without networking, pitching is cold-calling. Relationships are everything!

@BradyDCallahan   Let’s be honest: pitching is an absolute crapshoot unless you’ve networked. Even HYPER-targeting your pitch is a low % rate.

@MatthewAYoung   Networking – its HUGE!

@stonetemple   Research related posts already exist on the site, figure out what you can write to fill a hole in their coverage.
@andrea_tuttle   Agreed! Also, refer to the publishers editorial calendars to see what topics they will be covering and when.

What channel(s) do you most frequently send your pitches through? or find to be most successful?

@rymcgonagill   Email email email. Never call a writer without an invitation first.
@tannerpetroff   Not sure I agree with that for everything. For press, sometimes it’s easiest to call the hotline and pitch them.

@stonetemple   Email still works, but other channels are often better. InMail is really good, as is G+ since you can DM there. Short communications are definitely king. Your email is an INTERRUPTION!

@victorpan   Follow first on social media, pitch later on e-mail, share things relevant to them on social, 2-day follow-up on e-mail.
@MatthewAYoung   Word. Conversation, digital befriending are key – kind of the point of social anyway.

@MatthewAYoung   Social channels (PM) followed up with emails have always been a good outreach method for me.
@victorpan   If they’re interested, they’ll call you. Maybe. Short e-mails preferred if pitching to a journalist.

@victorpan   Though as short as your e-mail and headline may be, pitch with a story. Polish your hooks folks.

@KelseyLibert   Most writers want you to stay away from social media pitches. Instead, use SM to network weeks prior to the pitch.

Do you try to send your pitches at a specific time, or day of the week?

@victorpan   Depends on the person being pitched. Pitches are like ads. Good thing social media gives us hints on when’s a good/bad time. When there’s no prior relationship, first thing in the morning (8-9AM) or after lunch (1-2pm). Time zones matter!

@vitaminEDU   Tuesday-Thursday mornings. Fridays, too, if it’s necessary.

@victorpan   Caveat about general “best times to pitch” studies… they’re averages. They’re often not your type of audience either. The relationships you build shouldn’t be a statistic either.

@KelseyLibert   Make sure to check the writer’s timezone, and use @boomerang to schedule your email for the ideal time.

@KelseyLibert   We weren’t able to cover all of the takeaways today. Check out our @BuzzStream webinar for deeper insights.

@stonetemple   Question: who do you have create content for you? Rented writer, in-hour expert, or extranl expert?
@KelseyLibert   We mostly use internal writers, though we work with PhD’s when doing more advanced research.
@stonetemple   I like that approach. Internal people will know their stuff! Too much “blather” published these days.
@MichelleDLowery   External writers can know their stuff too. Depends on writer, their experience, and their methods. :-)

Summary: Authorship, Influence + Content Creators on #SEOchat

Moderator: @lisabuyer

@lisabuyer   If you liked this article on @sewatch Content Creators Ranking Checklist join #SEOchat

@marktraphagen   My in-depth article on why Google removed author photos from search

Google took away the mug shots last week, are they quietly killing authorship?

@BruceClayInc   Not at all … in fact, quite the opposite. “It’s a precursor to Google putting MORE value on authorship”- http://snip.ly/oDW

@marktraphagen   No. Authorship still works for one thing, just no photo. Author authority is a firm and long term goal of Google. I believe they may have decided until they can do real authorrank the photos were too strong a signal. Primary misconception is that authorship is a current ranking signal. Still long off from that. Google will serve no search rank factor before it’s time. Understanding author authority is a long term project.
@AllieGrayFree   Agreed Mark! Great article explaining the importance of author authority.

@CVContent   We believe it was a decision meant to enhance mobile search experience. #Authorship & #influence is alive and well.

@DragonSearch   Google just likes to keep us on our toes. Authorship is here to stay.

@ramirez_robert   Authorship is alive and well. Those using it just for the SERP photo are out of luck, but real authors should stick to it. One still gets a byline, and I for one think that’s worthwhile.

No author on blog posts? What are the first steps a brand do?

@BruceClayInc   Step 1: Add authors. Step 2: Have the authors set up Google Authorship immediately.

@KristiKellogg   Add authors! A blog w/ no bylines lacks transparency & authenticity – and today’s reader DEMANDS transparency and authenticity. I would go back and add them! You could add an editor’s note at the top, too, possibly.
@scottkrager   ”who wrote this” will be a part of the algorithm of the future. Even without photo, it’s worth it.
@marktraphagen   Totally agree!

@marktraphagen   I believe developing real authors identified w/ your brand needs to be a top priority. For one thing, you’re building a data set of trust for when Google does use author rank. More and more, people will come to trust first that content that has a real author connected to it.
@paulaspeak   Users will “retrain” (totally agree) & search engines will grow in author recognition and reward those worthy of it.

@lisabuyer   Some blogs, many actually, don’t have authors or even dates on blog posts!!!

@ChiDPI   Add authors whenever possible! If there is a huge workload, prioritize the best content and then work through it over time.

@CVContent   Think about your brand publication like a newsroom. You need real people behind your content, not just your brand. Brands need to leverage tools like ClearVoice, FollowerWonk etc. to find subject matter experts.

@AllieGrayFree   Identify your customers’ FAQs, find authoritative authors based on vertical, then develop content that answers Q’s.

Will you still be recommending clients use authorship markup? Why or why not?

@marktraphagen   Absolutely recommend still using authorship. Google still tracking authors for future author rank, for 1 thing. BTW, author photos can still show for G+ content in logged-in searches by people in your Google network. Seems to trigger most for people w/ whom you have engaged.
@primedesign   And ppl on G+ are more likely to see your articles in SERPs if they or someone in their network has +1′d your content. Google’s whole business model has to do with delivering personalized search results.

@ramirez_robert   If you are trying to frame yourself as an expert on a topic, authorship matters. Claiming ownership of your content is a must.

@OldhamJared   Absolutely! Authorship is part of Branding. Good Brands are built overtime. Authorship value will develop over time.

@ChiDPI   For sure! On top of other benefits, #authorship forces brands to focus and hone voice, branding, and message.

@CVContent   Yes! Authorship markup credits authors & offers authority for content. Here’s a good guide to check your authorship markup.

What are the credentials of a good author?

@marktraphagen   Sign of a good author: able to bring unique take on a topic that adds value. Another sign of a good author: earns regular columns on trusted industry sites. @stonetemple hired me partly b/c I bring w/ me strong writing history & rep. Now gets associated w/ STC brand. I think great content producers are writing themselves a valuable job ticket for their future.
@lisabuyer   Does high engagement = a good author?
@marktraphagen   It can, but not necessarily. Better sign: WHOM is engaging w/ that author?

@KristiKellogg   Bylines on high quality publications/sites are always a good sign. And … just read their writing. It should speak for itself.

@ChiDPI   What makes a good author very much depends on the brands history, industry, and competition.
@paulaspeak   Yes, “good” is relative term. But certainly Google interprets “authority” in context of a subject/field.

@OldhamJared   A good author offers consistency and innovation to a subject like @marktraphagen on #authorship and other topics.

@CVContent   Balance your editorial team based on your org’s needs. For outsourcing make sure theyre a) experts and b) quality.

@nikipayne   Let’s not forget social reach and influence. A good author is also ENGAGING. Isn’t that want content marketing is all about?

@DragonSearch   Not a “sexy” answer, but: Consistency! You can be an excellent writer, but you need to be consistent to build readership.

@ferkungamaboobo   Prolific (unique index pages), Insightful (links, social sharing), timely (topic/keyword choice).

Should a brand hire in-house content creators or outsource?

@BruceClayInc   If you have the resources, in-house creator(s) are valuable. An in-house team can coordinate w/ analysts 7 work collaboratively. We have a strong team of writers: @VirginiaNussey, @KristiKellogg, @paulaspeak, @ChelseaBeaAdams @NikiPayne. #TeamWork

@ericlanderseo   Outsource if you need to get buy-in on content, but IMO you need long term in house dedication to make it work. Integrate!

@nikipayne   In-house content creators are the way to go. No one knows your business better than someone who lives and breathes it with you.
@DragonSearch   Yes! Because *sometimes* the best perspective is an outside perspective :)
@lisabuyer   Yes when you are too close to the brand sometimes things get blurry!

@paulaspeak   SMB owners often have trouble finding time to write content, can’t see the forest either. In that case, outsource works.

@ZipTrigger   If doing outsource you’d need a strong guide to keep voice consistent. Personas, etc.

@primedesign   Depends on their goals! As a marketing agency, our goal is to show we know our stuff – thus, in-house is better.

@marktraphagen   Don’t outsource content to just anyone. Do strong research, develop a relationship.

@OldhamJared   I like inhouse writers who know the brand. Use #outsourcing for consulting like — Video creative and other specialties.

@AllieGrayFree   Balance on your business’ needs. In house=good for governance, outsourcers=great for topical experts & leveraging influence.

@Mreowlynn   If a brand can juggle in-house content creators that would be ideal. Imagine how much easier it would be get content tweaked. Not to mention an in-house content creator would already know the voice of the brand.

@ChiDPI   In-house = great, but realistically…better to get content out there. Outsource if biz is unwilling/unable to focus on it.

@seanmcginnis   My belief is you get passion and expertise by keeping content creation in house. Hard to replace those two w external. Additionally, some internal employees would love side projects like that – so, cultural/employee win.

@ramirez_robert   In-house writers are always your best bet, but a good freelance writer can craft compelling content on any subject.

@DanielleLeitch   If good matching/selection process done in advance, have seen outsourced writers (agency) produce relevant + passionate content.

What about press releases (real ones), should they have an author associated?

@marktraphagen   W/ recent Press Release site penalties, Google made clear that quality of PR’s needs to come up bigtime. For the future, press releases need to add real value, like an article. Can’t just be broadcasting anymore.
@paulaspeak   Will adding an author to a press release raise its quality (in SE’s eyes)?
@marktraphagen   Possibly, but for now I think the quality of the content in the release is most important.
@lisabuyer   What about the press release published on the company website, should it have an author?
@marktraphagen   If it’s in the form of a PR, then no. But should be written at that quality.

@primedesign   Generally it is assumed the author of a press release is the press contact, unless it’s a huge corporation, no? As a side note, the walls between advertising and journalistic content seem ever weaker….this worries me.

@BruceClayInc   Press releases shouldn’t have an author, but rather a contact person (such as a marketing/content manager) listed at the bottom.
@marktraphagen   Good point. But PR’s should be written like they’re written by a “real author” even if not named.
@primedesign   and should follow the basic rule for a PR — it’s something that’s actually NEWSWORTHY.

@CVContent   With the influx of content on the web, associating content w credible authors is essential for press releases, blogs.

@AllieGrayFree   True – (Primary) studies/research accomodates the need for info vs product annoucement.

@KristiKellogg   Speaking of press releases … wrote this last week: How to Write a Press Release that Entices #Media.
@paulaspeak   Your article takes PRs a step further, into a new life form as the seed for an article. That’s the best scenario.

@ramirez_robert   I don’t think press releases need authorship. Publisher tags are for content about brands. Author tags for content on topics.

What are some of your favorite tools for authorship and content creation?

@scottkrager   Structured Data Testing Tool for sure.

@KristiKellogg   For the content itself … my favorite tools are my brain and the Keyword Planner.
@Sonray   Agree, plus analytics, trends, serps etc. Reading demographic studies and other reports also spurs creativity and content ideas for me.

@primedesign   Curation: @hootsuite. I’d lose my mind without it.
@8keith   Use their Curation tools definitely .. but not to share, @HootSuite works best for multiple channels.

@marktraphagen   For finding authoritative authors check out new ClearVoice tool.
@lisabuyer   Check out this article mentions ClearVoice.

@paulaspeak   For ideas: G+ and Tweetdeck streams. For SEO: I run every page thru SEOToolSet Single Page Analyzer, then tweak.

@KristiKellogg   For PROMOTION of the content … @HaikuDeck, @Canva, @Pixlr, @TweetDeck, @Sniply, @BufferApp, @Tweepi, @Hashtagify.
@marktraphagen   Seconding the @HaikuDeck & @canva love!

@OldhamJared   I’m loving #buzzsumo for insights on the types of content in industries that are getting social buzz.
@nikipayne   I love @BuzzSumo too. One of my favorite tools to see what’s trending in social media for any given topic.

@Mreowlynn   @SproutSocial has been a blessing.

@AllieGrayFree   Here’s another good article on influencer #marketing tools.

@primedesign   How ’bout a shout-out for good old fashioned e-mail marketing, which isn’t sexy but WORKS.

Is a high @Klout score an indication of authentic influence?

@BruceClayInc   A @klout score reflects quality of interaction and provides an idea of how you’re performing socially. It’s useful. @KristiKellogg recently broke down how a @Klout score is established.
@Sonray   Type of interaction is important; mine went up ~30 points after the birth of my son – not relevant to my job.
@paulaspeak   I disagree that @klout scores reflect quality, though may get better. A rough indicator of online activity only.

@Sonray   It can be manipulated but I’ve found it useful for finding opportunities more than anything else.
@lisabuyer   I agree and think @klout is a good benchmark to watch your topics of influence also has some cool content suggestions.

@KristiKellogg   LOVVVVVVE @Klout. Yes. It is a great measurement tool. Sure, it can be manipulated, but so can everything.

@paulaspeak   I no longer consider Klout valid for measuring clout. If I post a new puppy pic on FB, my score goes way up.

@8keith   Klout is like a thermometer .. gives you an indication but not a complete story on the weather.

@CVContent   @Klout is a good judge of social influence, but it doesn’t judge how viral actual content is.

@marktraphagen   A lot of influencers on G+ suspect that @Klout undervalues that network. I use Facebook only for friends/family, but if I disconnect it my Klout score falls. #fail
@MichaelKitces   I thought the issue is simply that @Klout can’t effectively “score” G+ due to Google API limitations?
@marktraphagen   That may be, but still makes Klout less relevant for us.

@paulaspeak   All of our Klout scores just went up by interacting on.
@lisabuyer   There is #Chrome plugin for @klout and you can see everyone’s Klout score on Twitter stream.

How can authors improve scores of influence?

@marktraphagen   Key is building real relationships w/ other relevant influencers. Be very useful to them! No substitute for being on top of your industry. Can’t become trusted author w/o constant self-education.
@lisabuyer   Especially this industry! Brands hiring online marketers are so vulnerable to fakes.
@Sonray   Constant learning and understanding then your own testing is HUGE, totally agree.
@marktraphagen   Great point. At @stonetemple we’re investing heavily in resources to do more testing
@Sonray   With the losses of data and dirty data you can’t beat owning your own data.

@BruceClayInc   Publish & promote consistently. Foster relationships through meaningful interaction. Have a unique, engaging voice.

@CVContent   Frequency, quality, authority of site, proper markup & claiming your @CVContent profile all will do you justice here. Also: continue contributing compelling content with your authorship correctly marked up.

@Mreowlynn   How about the cliche: Content is king. Producing relevant, sharable and quality content that provides value.
@lisabuyer   Authorship is now king!

@primedesign   Participate, interact, respond, ask questions, make intelligent observations… like @marktraphagen is suggesting, LEARN.

@DanielleLeitch   Consistently produce original, authentic and relevant content (ties to your name) w/ splashes of How-To’s for added user-value.

Ask anything!

@ramirez_robert   When will authorrank become a reality? Will it look anything like we are all thinking it will?
@marktraphagen   @ramirez_robert I think it still may be years off. Also think at early stages it may only boost top authors in each vertical.
@ramirez_robert   You think they might roll it out across some verticals first? Published medical professionals seem like a good fit?
@marktraphagen   Quite possibly. Apply it where it is easiest to guage trust & authority.
@Sonray   There is a lot of misconception & bad practices there…not sure authorank would help that vertical.
@marktraphagen   Then a good example of why author ranking is trickier than people think.

@ZipTrigger   Agent Rank patent is from 2005 – http://goo.gl/35hCqV – any evidence Google is developing it?
@marktraphagen   What we’ve heard from Google is that developing the right metrics is harder than people think. But as recenlty as past few weeks @mattcutts said it remains a priority to figure out.

Summary: SEO Education on #SEOchat

Moderator: @BruceClayInc

How much formal training is necessary for an SEO?

@sandiegoseo   I don’t think any formal training is “needed” but it can sure help separate fact from fiction.

@MatthewAYoung   Formal training is essential, but a moderate amount is sufficient. SEOs have to learn by doing and sometimes failing.

@Sonray   It can be helpful if the degree adds value (I went for Phys ED) but DESIRE to learn is more valuable.

@MindyDWeinstein   I think some form of formal training is needed. Hands on is huge, though.

@treycopeland   No formal training is needed. read seo blogs. technical experience does help. former web dev turned seo here.

@paulaspeak   Some formal training (by experts) can keep “SEOs” from doing unethical things ignorantly, don’t you think?

@Tony_DWM   I think that knowledge of biz & training in marketing are pre-req of SEO training. The “why” is key & these help.

@cshel   I think everything you need to know can be learned outside of a classroom, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to know.

@LanceMoore22   I would say it’s not a formal training, but an art and science.

@KevinWaugh   Based on the college students on my team, I’m glad it is not covered. I had to reteach HTML, which is bad.

@CallMeLouzander   Fundamentals don’t change; don’t try to game the system, serve good content, keep up with tech changes.

If there is formal training, what does that look like? An apprenticeship? An internship? Something else?

@MatthewAYoung   The Bruce Clay SEO training of course! Which I took a few times in my day.

@mindydweinstein   To me, formal training looks like an internship. Reading, studying and watching those w/ experience in action. Regarding higher ed, I actually went through “SEO” textbooks. They are all outdated as soon as they go to print.

@CaitlinBoroden   I began with an internship. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to dig in and learn!

@Sonray   I spoke at @SearchDecoder ‘s NYU master’s level class. I was super impressed with the class & quality. I think it’s offered every semester but not sure. Studies digital marketing as a whole.

@sandiegoseo   I would think formal training would consist of a combo of hands on experience, and lessons on what NOT to do & why.

@paulaspeak   That sounds like a one-time special class vs. regular course, right? Maybe that would work.

@KevinWaugh   Workshops might be the closest to formal, easy to get into, gives you wings, and lets you go.

@scottcowley   I teach SEO, but I wish there were an ecommerce site to just hand to the students and let them optimize. The system is imperfect.

@LysaChester   I think formal classroom fundamentals in SEO is great, but most learning is done through internships and entry level jobs.

When was the first time you heard “SEO?” What made you want to dive in?

@sandiegoseo   When an ecom client wanted the service. No one was offering it, so I figured I’d learn it. over 14 yrs ago.

@Sonray   Working at a bike shop during the winter & was looking for ‘busy work’; started w/ ebay and local search.

@Tony_DWM   Late nineties. Primarily a fascination with words & their meaning, coupled with a deep interest in marketing.

@KristiKellogg   The first time I heard SEO was a week before my interview with @BruceClayInc. SEO, SEM, SMM, PPC, etc. #TooManyAcronyms

@MatthewAYoung   At an old job, the sales and marketing director asked if I could rewrite content on the site with SEO in mind. She asked if I knew what SEO was, I lied and said sure…

@LysaChester   First time I heard of SEO was when I went for a job interview asking me about SEO and Social Media experience 1 1/2 ago.

@CallMeLouzander   When I first heard “SEO” I asked programmer friend about it; he didn’t even know white hat SEO existed.

@DigitalDionne   It was 2010 or so. I was still a journo with AP. I was intrigued by strategic word use to “catch” someone. Like fishing. I eventually decided I liked the concept of words that made money. And my career in news was soon dunzo. lol

@KevinWaugh   I heard of it at a job interview for an #ecommerce site, so I decided I should really learn it. Never stopped learning since

@crbawden   Learned of #SEO from a drunk friend who said people make money by getting sites listed on Google. And here I am now.

After you heard those three magic letters, how did your SEO training begin? Online? With a book? With a course?

@Sonray   Read all the blog posts until they become boring. Experimented and failed often which was the best learning.

@scottcowley   I had informal job training, but I bought SEO for Dummies and read at night. My wife would write quizzes for me.

@CaitlinBoroden   My training kicked off with @sonray and @dragonsearch! Reading lots of blogs and books as well.

@BruceClayInc   Along with more than 4,000 students, have attended our SEOToolSet Training course since 2000.

@MindyDWeinstein   You also learn a lot at SEO conferences by networking. A collection of knowledge all in one place.

@paulaspeak   @smx sets the standard IMO for Internet marketing conferences. Even @dannysullivan & @mattcutts are there.

@KristiKellogg   Fun and random fact — March is the busiest month for #SEO conferences. How do I know? I made the #InternetMarketing Conference Calendar.

What about learning at Internet marketing conferences? Which ones do you attend, and are they worth the price?

@Sonray   Depends on your knowledge level and the level of the conf. Some are duds, some are FANTASTIC.

@KevinWaugh   I went to Internet Retailer Web Design conference last year and the SEO part was high level, nothing in part of new tricks. Score: 6/10.

@MindyDWeinstein   SMX and Pubcon conferences are always great. SMX Advanced is one I highly recommend.

@scottcowley   I think everyone should go to PubCon and SMX at least once. Conference have dminishing knowledge returns over time.
@btabke   I disagree – they get better with age, because you build up a network of trusted peers – that’s educational!
@DavidWallace   Yep I have to agree with @btabke on that one!
@scottcowley   We’re on the same page. The marginal info value of sessions may decline over time, but the peer factor is priceless.

@Tony_DWM   For networking, insights & peer-to-peer comms, most are great. I’ve attended #BrightonSEO & #Searchlove in UK – both fab.

@blueprintmarket   There worth x5 the cost. I got so much out of #SearchLove #Boston so much I signed up for SL #SanDiego days after @distilled.

@DigitalDionne   I’ve done Digital Summit and Digital Atlanta. I’ve learned good stuff. But really wanna hit SMX.

What is the most important lesson you had to learn as you gained experience as an SEO?

@Sonray   Hustle wins. Pick yourself up off the mat when you fail big and be willing to put yourself back out there.

@MatthewAYoung   How to distill complex SEO concepts to clients so they could understand them. You can learn all you want about SEO, but if you aren’t good at client services, then expertise means little.

@frpainchaud   Quality over quantity, conversions over rankings.

@sandiegoseo   Test everything no matter what youve heard.

@KristiKellogg   At first, I was hesitant to trade clever titles for optimized ones — until I saw keyword optimization maximizes reach!

@Tony_DWM   That it wasn’t about me. It was about helping clients achieve online results. If they won, I won. If not, why?

@nikipayne   Most important lesson learned: Don’t ever buy links!!!

@ScottCowley   SEO is one piece of a gigantic pie. It works better for some than others. 85% of it doesn’t change. People in SEO are awesome.

@CallMeLouzander   SEO has to work in conjunction with marketing and development to be effective.

When did it seem that the training wheels had come off and that you warranted the title “SEO”?

@sandiegoseo   The first time a client referred me to a friend of theirs, then again when a firm gave me continued pay days.

@Sonray   When my clients started seeing sustained traffic & conversion increases month over month.

@LysaChester   When I started creating SEO marketing campaigns on my own and they paid off! FTW!

@mindydweinstein   When I was no longer the one asking the questions, but was the one answering them (and I was seeing results).

@crbawden   When I could finally hold conversations on industry events, probably took at least 6 months of research and reading.

@DigitalDionne   When I started having my own ideas. I’m still just two years in. But it’s like a kid… when they’re a baby, they just listen. But by 11, they have their own thoughts. When I got my own thoughts, I felt like an SEO.

@KristiKellogg   When I saw my articles begin to rank #1.

@MatthewAYoung   When SEO became my state of mind.

When did it seem that the training wheels had come off and that you warranted the title “SEO”?

@lancemoore22   Be willing to learn. Always learn.

@KristiKellogg   Carefully consider you’re going to learn from.

@MatthewAYoung   Learn all you can from the white hat community on what do right, also attend #SEOchat every Thurs!

@mindydweinstein   Work with an SEO company that is willing to train you. Take your time, study and when you are ready, get your hands dirty.

@Sonray   Never say no to the opportunities that come your way; be giving with your knowledge.

@sandiegoseo   Learn the technical side as well as learning analytics to show what your work has been producing

@DigitalDionne   Develop mentors you can trust. Do the white hat – but learn the black hat too. There’s value in knowing the good and bad.

How do you continue your SEO education?

@djpaisley   Follow and engage with OLD School SEOs still in the game working at the top levels of the industry!!

@sandiegoseo   With no job ever “done” continued work is the best education, but shows, blogs, and articles help too.

@Sonray   Building up and teaching my team, sharing what we’ve learned whenever and however possible. Helping others.

Where do you think SEO education is headed? Is this going to be something the class of 2025 will major in?

@Sonray   Depends on what happens w higher ed & peeps opinions; self learners will always be but degrees will add legitimacy

@MindyDWeinstein   I believe more colleges will start to offer SEO education. Things change, of course, but students need a foundation.

@KevinWaugh   I think it will baked into the Marketing Degrees, along with other digital endeavors.

Summary: Combining Research with Audience Research on #SEOchat

Moderator: @mattgratt

Disclaimer from @Lyena : In an effort to focus on the content of the chat and keep readers from experiencing seisures, I am leaving out animated gifs that illustrate the conversation. Sorry, Matt. The collection was quite remarkable.

@mattgratt   As we internet marketing becomes more sophisticated and competitive, we need to remember that ‘traffic is people too.’ And that’s what we’ll talk about today on #SEOChat – thinking more broadly about keyword research in a full-funnel marketing process.

What tools & processes are you using to gather keywords and assess their volume, today in 2014?

@dan_patterson   Call me old-fashioned, but I still reference the Google keyword planner for ideas on volume estimates.
@Sonray   me too. Trends, and ye’ol SERP can help inform as well.
@mattgratt   The Google Keyword tool is a classic. Bing also has a rad excel extension for kw research.

@crbawden   Honestly, Google’s suggestions from the search bar help me most, but just signed up for @SEMrush and that’s been great.

@takartem   I obviously use http://keywordtool.io/ to find long-tail keywords and Keyword Planner to get the search volume – both are free.

@BruceClayInc   We use the SEOToolSet (about to get an upgrade to version 6!) and the Adwords Keyword Planner.

@MatthewAYoung   Adwords keyword planner is good-ish, not as good as it used to be. But it has new features that target platform-specific behavior. I also use SEM Rush to pull long lists of KW data – good for filling in the gaps, esp. with longtail.

@mattgratt   I think the suggestion tools – soovle, ubersuggest, keywordtool.io – are really valuable for expanding queries.

@DragonSearch   Definitely a process that’s been evolving of recent at DragonSearch- keyword planner, google auto suggest, trends, etc.
@mattgratt   .@AndrewChen actually has a great piece on assesing company traction with Google Trends.

@nikipayne   I’m doing keyword research right now too! Using Keyword Planner to start, then SEOToolSet.

@KristiKellogg   AdWords Keyword Planner

@lancemoore22   Jaaxy gives: monthly searches, estimated traffic, number of competitors, and a rating factor of ranking for a term.

@dan_patterson   No one mentioned WordStream… I don’t use it but i know some people like it.

@Sonray   Anyone do any demographic targeting in relationship to their keyword process?
@gregsnewby   Oddly enough, Facebook ad builder is great for helping with that. In a nutshell, I build an ad around the terms or “interests” I’m targeting, add in my target demo. And geo target; decide if the audience is the right size. May have to write a blog about it.

@mattgratt   .@jonoalderson sent me to an interesting term classfier tool today. Looks helpful for bigger sites.

What tools & processes are you using to understand your audience? Social media, email, competitive, surveys, etc?

@mattgratt   Personally I’m a big advocate of starting with your email list and using @FullContactAPI to add social and demographic data.

@MatthewAYoung   Clients know their audience the best. I like to have honest conversations with them – usually puts me on the right path. Researching consecutive queries is also a good way to understand psychology behind audience – helps with hummingbird too.

@KevinWaugh   This seems to be easier in B2B ecommerce. Survey’s and visit data help, when they buy, jackpot.

@Sonray   GA Demographics Tag helps inform; surveys, client docs, competitive & research can be HUGE in solidifying strategy.

@BruceClayInc   In addition to keyword research, we look at surveys, social media analytics, content performance and more. Furthermore, in-person surveys have given us insightful data about real personas who attend our SEO training.

@takartem   I believe search intent describes your audience a lot – http://keywordtool.io/ comes into play. Also talking to ppl. Search query report from webmaster tools will definitely be handy.

@mattgratt   One of my favorite pieces on this topic comes from @AimClear.

@Sonray   Census and market data are widely underused too IMO.

@KristiKellogg   The content drilldown report within Google Analytics is a GOLD MINE of info on what your readers want to read more of. I also like to look at what content is getting shared the most or getting max engagement- that, too, shows where interest lies. I will have to take a look at @qualaroo!

@DragonSearch   We’re big fans of @Brandwatch & constantly listening in to what users are saying. Great for content ideas too!

@mattgratt   I’m hearing surveys, census data, GA demographics tags, client docs, customer & non-customer interviews.

@gregsnewby   Sitewide search queries in GA are great to see if your current content is meeting needs and easy to find.

How do you map keywords to your purchase funnel? To audiences and personas? How do you put the data together?

@mattgratt   I start at the back of the funnel. I use ubersuggest or keywordtool io to find brand related searches and try to answer those. Then I start putting keywords into buckets, around use cases and buyer personas. Another thing to look at is posts that consistently send you converting traffic- what search terms do they get traffic from? @iPullRank has written some really excellent material about this topic.

@KevinWaugh   (Analytics + Order Data) along with channel. When adding new segments, you can forecast visits and possible revenue from them.

@MatthewAYoung   Assigning specific keywords sets to silos. The deeper the silo, the more longtail the KW. Don’t forget semantics either! Excel is especially useful for mapping of this nature as well.

@ianhowells   Competitors bidding on a term w/>$1 CPC = commercial, stuff they rank on but don’t bid on are likely somewhere up the funnel.

@crbawden   Pay close attention to qualifiers as natural search and intent discovery grows.. i.e. reviews, info, or purchase.

@BruceClayInc   #PPC take – we match keyword sets to conversion metrics. Some keywords aredirect revenue drivers while others drive branding.

How do you combine audience analysis and keyword research together to create a content strategy?

@KristiKellogg   Audience analysis gives you a framework to know WHO you’re writing to — and keyword research dictates WHAT to write about. That’s where long-tail research comes in super handy.

@MatthewAYoung   @randfish has a great whiteboard friday on this subject – perfect for hummingbird too!

@mattgratt   Personally I put keywords into buckets by person and funnel stage, and ask myself, “What does this person want?” “And what do I want them to do next, that drives business value? And how do I align those two goals?” I think the real challenge comes from keywords with multiple intents and high volume – they can be like Don Quixote’s windmills. The other thing I see a lot here is client executives wanting categorical keywords with low intent, like “analytics” or something.

@takartem   Create landing pages that would target several long-tail keywords, obviously keeping in mind who is your audience.
@Sonray   I find it’s more accurate for identifying CTR issues than gathering KW info but agree about the struggle!

@sageandsavvy   Content Strat =Go where your target market is and include the keywords they are searching for.

@crbawden   I think I’d need more than 140 characters to answer that one ;) Lots and lots of segmenting both keywords and traffic.

@ianhowells   You should know audience from your overall biz planning – KW research should just give specifics on language + suggestions.

@paulaspeak   To match keywords & personas, the “how” is the trick. Gut instincts are involved, then test topics & prove with analytics.

Summary: Measuring SEO Value of Publishers & Links on #SEOchat

Moderator: @JohnBertino

I don’t condone evaluating publishers on a single SEO metric but if you had to, what would it be? PR? DA? Relevance? Traffic?

@KevinWaugh   Force me to one metric, it would be traffic, the most direct to conversions.

@traHanSolo   It’s definitely best to consider all & not discount a whole field. There’s value to be had in many channels. In all honesty, I’m not sure I can just pick one. I don’t ever evaluate based on just one metric. Just 1 won’t tell full story.
@CaitlinBoroden   I agree. I first try and get a feel for the whole without looking into any one metric – a gut feeling and then metrics. I’ll use the cliche gun-to-the-head euphemism….. Had to pick one.
@traHanSolo   I might just end up dead ;) Ok, ok…traffic. w/ analytics you can get a whole lot of info from traffic data

@semdave   I would say relevance is first and foremost.

@crbawden   I’d say CPA, but that feels like cheating since it’s derived from two other metrics.

@tannerpetroff   That’s tough, but I’d have to say “the eyeball test” and check for quality/relevance.
@JohnBertino   Another vote for “eyeball test” / “gut feel” as first and foremost. quality indicator – Interesting.

@JohnBertino   QUICK POLL: Which software do you trust the most for link valuation? Moz? ahref? Majestic? LinkResearchTools? other? – why?
@traHanSolo   I trust @Moz. Comes from overall trust in them as a company w/ being on top of data/trends.
@BruceClayInc   For link research, Majestic and Ahref are reliable (in addition to Bing/Google WT).
@crbawden   Good question, I’m testing Moz, SEMrush and SpyFu all right now, but cognitiveSEO used to be my choice.

@JohnBertino   Quick plug for @backlinko – gr8 post on establishing site trust.

SEOs often snicker when Alexa Rank is mentioned. But if AR measures traffic, and traffic correlates authority, where does that leave AR?

@JohnBertino   I’m always surprised by how many SEOs scoff at PR and yet there is a whole school out there that still swears by it.

@annathegreat3   I think PR is misunderstood. SEOs see Google smacking PR and they see it as not as valuable.

@joshmccormack   PR as in spamming “press releases” is not valuable. Beyond that it’s very valuable.

@tannerpetroff   Isn’t AR based only on traffic with the Alexa toolbar installed? Or is that just from days past?

@awg   I think that’s what AR did–not sure on current practice. I just look at it as lukewarm data that’s skewed.

@semdave   I don’t ever look at AR. should I?
@awg   You could, but it’s an older service that no one really uses anymore. Well, at least we don’t.

Per January video by Cutts, FB/Twit signal are not part of algo. What is ur stance on impact of content engagement on link val?

@crbawden   Social mentions of URL are still counted short term I believe? just not likes/follows, so engagement’s still important.

@BruceClayInc   Engagement on FB/Twitter may correlate with, not impact, SERP rankings. Quality/relevance attracts all eyes (SEs and users).

@crbawden   Even if you consider FB/Twit as no follow links, it’s ultimately more awareness and (hopefully) targeted enteractions.
@KevinWaugh   I would almost consider it lead gen. You get the traffic and hope to convert them.

@tannerpetroff   While social might not be huge for ranking, it can still drive traffic, which is sort of the point. While social might not be huge for ranking, it can still drive traffic, which is sort of the point.

@traHanSolo   It may not impact seo for the time being, but social shares/links do help build brand awareness.

@semdave   Agree with everyone else. I don’t really care if FB/Twitter is part of Google’s algo. Still drives trafficand engagement.

@emcgillivray   If something’s truly hot on social, it’s typically breaking news & that’s going to show in SERPs.

In your opinion: How much impact do you think ‘author rank/authority’ has on the link value of NON-mktg-industry-related posts?

@JohnBertino   I’m a bit skeptical on big G’s ability to accurately measure auth-authority in verticals where author markup is rarely used.

@awg   Not much link juice wise, but I think the author’s name is something users get attached to. And then builds from there. The more users click on it and find it relevant, the more likely they are to share, etc and so forth.

@MatthewAYoung   I think Google has enough phds on the payroll to measure, I just don’t think Google values it highly, so minimal impact.

@KevinWaugh   I think authorship has great link and CTR influence. People may grow weary of nameless posts. (Same with paper editorials). Markup is a tool or means to an end. Getting the first jump on the comps makes the lead harder to overcome.

@CaitlinBoroden   Yes! RT Not much link juice wise, but I think the author’s name is something users get attached to. And then builds from there.

@crbawden   I question auth-authority measure when vertical like SEO touches all industries, I’m technically in software. I’d much rather look for relevancy as well, I just don’t have faith that search engines truly do that.

@raunakguha   Great content, natural link building, etc are all part of a holistic marketing process.

@JohnBertino   POLL: In terms of link equity, rank these factors in order of importance: TotalLinkRootDomain | PR | ContentRelevancy
@awg   I preface this with my role here (SEO Analyst): ContentRelevancy | TotalLinkRootDomain | PR
@CaitlinBoroden   My vote: ContentRelevancy, TotalLinkRootDomain, & PR
@MatthewAYoung   Conent > Total Links > PR
@crbawden   Unfortunately just as you listed them, relevant content won’t get seen without authoritative domain and links.

@JohnBertino   Google News sites are some of the most trusted on the internet. Any opinions on how to capture links from GN sites? For a site to be included in Google News, they have to undergo a rigorous manual review before getting in.
@MatthewAYoung   Post on G+ RE current event – posts will often times appear along side news stories in Google News, can increase awareness for site.

@JohnBertino   Very interested in what @Linkdex is doing, incorporating authorship and social influence into it’s platform. Has anyone used it? Similarly, I want to get back to discussion about preferred platform. Moz vs ahrefs vs Majestic vs other. What do you guys prefer?
@raunakguha   Have used Majestic. I simply love it. I believe a combination of @MajesticSEO and Market Samurai is really a killer.
@MatthewAYoung   Combination of Majestic and GWT.
@awg   We use Majestic and SEMrush.

@JohnBertino   Poll: How many of you strictly rely on link earning through content marketing vs link building?
@raunakguha   We do both.
@MatthewAYoung   Is there any form of link building that hasn’t been targeted by Google?
@JohnBertino   Sure, broken link building comes to mind @MatthewAYoung. @PointBlankSEO has some great information available on this.
@raunakguha   As long as the link building can be made to “seem natural” it will never be targeted.
@crbawden   We used to rely on just content but it’s not effective enough, I’m working on a strategy to change that now.