Improve With Improv: What You Learn When You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone [Video]

For many people, myself included, the prospect of performing in an improv show is downright terrifying. What could be worse than having to get up in front of an expectant audience with no lines, no plan, and no idea what your fellow performers are going to say?

But if you're willing to step out of your comfort zone, there's actually a lot that you can learn from improv. It can teach you how to react and adapt to new situations. It can teach you how to become a better listener. And perhaps most importantly, it can teach you how to stop fearing failure.

How, exactly? In his INBOUND15 Bold Talk, Dave Delaney, seasoned improv performer and author of New Business Networking, talks about how improvisation can improve your networking, creativity, communication, teamwork, and leadership skills. Check out his Bold Talk in the YouTube Video below. (And click here to browse more Bold Talks.)

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Facebook drains a ton of your iPhone battery, but it’s trying to fix that

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If you own an iPhone, you're probably familiar with the sinking feeling that comes when you look at your phone's battery after leaving it alone for a few hours — only to realize your battery has depleted by 50%. One of the culprits is Facebook's iPhone app, combined with iOS 9.

But before you get too angry: Facebook says it's aware of the issue and working on a fix

The issue was articulated earlier this week by entrepreneur Matt Galligan, who realized that Facebook — which is essentially a battery hog on all devices — sucks up the most life on the iPhone. It was draining his iPhone 6 Plus, despite the fact he turned off background app refresh in settings (which ensures the app doesn't run even when you don't have it open). Read more...

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Omid Kordestani Will Be Paid $50K/Year As Twitter Chairman, Up To 1.2M Shares On Top

omid kordestani Twitter today released the details of how its new executive chairman Omid Kordestani will be compensated. The social media company says that Kordestani, who was poached from Google and was the company’s highest paid employee in 2014, will be paid a base annual salary of $50,000, and will have the option of getting up to 1.2 million shares on top of that. The shares are divided into… Read More

7 Behaviors That Reveal Our Obsession With Technology

If you've ever taken a subway somewhere, then you've probably noticed something a little peculiar going on. 

People are completely and utterly absorbed -- but not in conversation with their neighbors. They're absorbed in their devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.

With over two billion people using the internet worldwide, 144 billion emails being sent each day, and the average user spending 3.2 hours a day on social networking sites, it should come as no surprise that technology is beginning to change the way we behave. 

Some changes have been for the better, while others have us longing for times when things were a little simpler. Either way, technology has an undeniable hold on the way we act, think, and respond to things. Check out these examples of behaviors that can be attributed to tech. 

7 Behaviors We've Picked Up Thanks to Technology

1) Binge Watching

Is there a wrong way to watch television?

I'd never put much thought into it until I found myself six hours and an entire bag of chips deep into the first season of Friday Night Lights on Netflix. 

I felt ashamed after having to insistently assure the folks at Netflix that yes, I was still watching, but I found comfort in knowing that I wasn't alone in this behavior.

Netflix recently launched a promotion that actually encourages users to celebrate their "binges" with #bingebrag announcement cards. (Yes, like birth announcements or "save the dates" ... but for your obsessive television watching habits.)

While Netflix's promotion is undoubtedly a little silly, 9 out of 10 people admit to engaging in binge viewing, according to a new survey by TiVo.

Binge watching television has even become a treasured pastime for many people around the world -- so much so that Samsung recently announced a promotion called "The Catch-up Grant." The contest will pay one winner to go to Thiksey -- a Tibetan monastery in the Himalayas -- to watch uninterrupted television for 100 days. 

For some, that sounds like the perfect getaway. Others reminisce of a time when you simply tuned in to a show every week.

2) Experiencing Phantom Vibrations

We've all been there. You're carrying out your day as you normally would and suddenly you hear -- or feel -- a rogue vibration. You check your phone, but there's nothing there. False alarm. 

What's that all about?

Phantom vibration syndrome, or phantom ringing, started as somewhat of an internet discussion amongst cellphone users, and quickly turned into an area of interest for many researchers and psychologists. 

"Phantom vibrations are this unusual curiosity that speaks to our connection with our phones,” explains clinical psychologist David Laramie.

And while a handful of conflicting explanations and hypotheses for why we experience this feeling can be found online, I struggled to find one definitive answer. 

Laramie suggests that it's a generational thing. In other words, he believes that those who grew up with cellphones may experience it more frequently, as the anticipation for receiving a call or message has almost become second nature.

Another psychologist -- and chairman the School of Psychology at the University of Sydney -- Alex Blaszczynski attributes the sensation to electrical signals. 

"I expect it's related to some of the electrical signals coming through in a transmission, touching on the surrounding nerves, giving a feeling of a vibration, " he explains

Whatever the case may be, you're not alone in experiencing it. In fact, 89% of undergraduates from the University of Indiana, along with 68% of the medical staff at a Massachusetts hospital reported that they'd experienced a phantom vibration, according to respective studies. 

3) Feeling FOMO

According to the Oxford English Dictionary -- to which the term was added back in 2013 -- FOMO refers to the anxiety we exhibit when "an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website."

While this feeling is common amongst teens -- 47% of teens between 13-17 years old feel uneasy or nervous when they learn friends or peers are doing something they’re not, according to a study by JWTIntelligence -- many adults are feeling the effects of this technology-induced anxiety just the same. 

Don't believe it? Check out some of the real-life #FOMO that marketers who missed out on this year's INBOUND event were experiencing on Twitter:

How to Build a Keyword Strategy That Turbo-charges Your School’s SEO

If you think planning and implementing an SEO strategy for your school is a luxury you can’t afford, you’re definitely not alone... but that doesn’t mean you’re 100% correct.

With majority of prospective students researching colleges, graduate programs, and private schools online, schools keyword research and SEO fueled content creation should no longer be optional. The process may seem daunting, but building an effective SEO strategy for schools doesn’t have to be as difficult or time-consuming as you might imagine.

Why Do Schools Need to Worry About SEO?

Your school website has readily accessible information on applying, you’re active on social media, and you’ve invested in banner ads and print mailings to potential students—so why do you need to invest any more of your valuable time and effort to worry your online content?

When students are just entering the enrollment funnel, their priority is getting as much information as possible on schools that match with their potential areas of study. Where do they turn? Google. Though they may not have heard of or be searching for your school, or specific programs that you offer, SEO ensures that your have a chance to be added to their radar.

So, how do you go about landing in those search results? Start by choosing the keywords that draw these potential applicants to your site. Begin by brainstorming 5-10 topic buckets you want to test (campus life, graduate programs, alumni), each with several more broad and specific keywords. Then narrow that list down to set of terms that have a high-serach volume but aren't too difficult to rank for, and finally use those keywords as the backbone for your blogging and content strategy.

6 Tips for Keyword Research That Will Help You Rank in Search

Most schools are used to vying for high search rankings with publications like the Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Take that mentality and use it to help you rank high for long-tail keywords that your prospective students are searching for. Not sure where to even begin? These seven tips will get you started in the right direction.

1) Define Your Objective

For schools, step one of building an effective keyword strategy is typically pretty clear. Your objective is to attract students to learn more about your school/programs online, them nurture them to apply. The audience you hope to target with your keywords is also clear: prospective students or adults who are helping in the decision-making process. Take this baseline audience, flush out a little more detail by building student personas, and you're on to step 2. That was easy enough!

2) Think Beyond Branded Keywords

When collating potential keywords that you want to rank for, it may seem like a no-brainer to include your school name. But, the students that you are trying to attract with SEO are searching for keywords realted to what and where they want to study, not for your name. If they already had your school in mind, they would go directly to your website (and this process wouldn’t be nearly as important!). Instead of focusing on your school or programs, focus on answering the questions that students are asking online. 

3) Think Like a Prospective Student

Take your marketing hat off and put yourself in the shoes of a student who is trying to find a place to spend the next several years of his or her life. What would he or she want to know? Your keywords should be strings of terms directly related to answering questions and solving problems of prospective students and their parents. Take for example a student who is a pianist and is hoping to further his education at an art school. Schools like Berklee College of Music, Julliard School, and other lesser known music programs can attract this student to their site by using keywords tailored to likely searches: “Best music schools in the US,” “music schools in the Northeast,” “classical music programs for pianists,” etc. The same can go for science, law, business programs, creative writing, theater, and more.

4) Ask Current Students and Look at Trends

You have loads of quantitative and qualitative data at your disposal—starting with the students who are already enrolled. After all, they understand more than anyone how they found your website and made them click “apply”. Talk to these students to learn what drew them to your school; what made your school stand out? Use this data to inform potential keywords. To supplement that information, you can also use a keyword research tool to see what prospective students are searching for when they’re looking for information on colleges or other schools.

5) Choose Keywords Where You Can Rank High

Just because keywords seem relevant to you, doesn't necessarily mean they're going to rank well in search. Incorporate hard-backed data by using a keyword research tool where search volume and competition are your measuring stick for success. You are more likely to rank higher—meaning, appear higher up on Google’s search results—if you have limited competition with a healthy search volume. These metrics will help you narrow down your initial list of keywords and really focus your content strategy. Each page or blog post will focus on only one keyword from the list—this way you can test its effectiveness over time to see if your strategy is working.

6) Consistently Adjust Your Keyword List

Every day there are changes to potential keywords, search volume and interest, and competition. Stay on top of your list—checking it every month at least—to make sure your keywords are still viable, and if there aren't any new variations you should be jumping on.

Where Do Your Keywords Go?

You’ve picked out your keywords. So, what now? Keywords should inform a solid content creation strategy, centered on blogging, website pages, offers, and social media. This next step may seem a bit overwhelming. You have a list of 50 keywords—just how are you supposed to create enough content to support and test each of these terms?

Don’t panic.

Think about it: As a school, you already have tons of content and hundreds of content creators at your disposal. Professors, current students, alumni, even course catalogues can all be great resources to build out a blog or new site pages. Marketers aren’t required to be professional writers; you should just be good at compiling and editing.

A solid keyword-fueled content strategy can help students not only find your school but find the topics and information that they are hungry for. This not only helps you attract more prospective students, but also attract more of the right prospective students.

Building out a keyword and content strategy isn’t something you should just focus on during application season and expect to see immediate results—if you leave it until then, you’ll be too late. It can take a while for positive SEO to build up, so make creating keyword-laden, helpful and engaging content a year-round best practice. 

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How to Build a Website Style Guide: Lessons from Working on HubSpot.com

I’d been working on the HubSpot website for several months when the déjà vu struck.

My team and I were going over the initial wireframes for a new page. As always, we’d started the project with the noble goals of better branding, an improved user experience, and sleeker designs. And, as always, we had ended up debating the most minute details.

Do we use sentence case or title case for our headers? Did we decide to round the corners of our buttons? Which version of the logo did we want on landing pages? Hadn’t we had these conversations before?

We all knew we needed to improve our process, but it seemed easier to put it off until after the next project. That is, until we reached a breaking point.

It was time to make our process more manageable, scalable, and regulated. It was time to build our own website style guide. Here's how it all played out. 

What’s a Style Guide?

First off, we needed to define what was going into our style guide (or “pattern library”).

Basically, a website style guide is a resource that defines all elements that go into the website: code snippets, design assets, guidelines for copywriting, etc. Some style guides focus more on design; others on development. Many style guides also formalize the best practices and processes for how the team should work together.

The goal is to create a centralized hub of information that should allow anyone to understand and replicate the process of designing and building for your site. 

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Building Our Designs From Scratch

With so many different designers and developers working on the website, we found ourselves with a hodgepodge collection of templates, style sheets, and modules on our hands. This was troubling, as there was no unified design that could be retrofitted into a cohesive style guide. 

Though this project was getting bigger by the second, we decided it would be better in the long run to start afresh and design brand-new styles for the site. We also wanted to incorporate some completely new elements, like adding a new font and reworking our form styles. 

And so we began the process of formalizing our designs. We decided to start with typography: choosing and updating font styles seemed relatively straightforward. Yet this seemingly simple update yielded some telling roadblocks.

First, when I started testing out our approved font styles on existing pages, they didn’t always look as good as we’d imagined. It became clear that the font styles needed to be adjusted to be compatible with many different parts of the site; even then, some of our custom-designed pages needed to be reworked to fit the new styles.

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After typography, we backed up a little. We combed through our existing website, looking for patterns. Most pages were built with similar skeletons: some sort of photo header, various subheaders, blocks of copy or photos, and rows with one or two CTAs. We decided to make a list of the most important, repeated elements, and build those elements as reusable custom modules. We envisioned a set of full-width modules that could stack together to build any page.

Making it Modular

While the purpose of this style guide was to streamline our design and development process, it was also important that we created something non-designers and non-developers could leverage. The decision to make it modular was rooted in just that. 

By designing all the modules at the same time, we were ensuring that the style was cohesive, and we could mock up how pages would look with various combinations of modules. And even though we’d figured out an effective way to modularize our website, we still encountered some serious challenges.

As we started to make final design decisions, I realized we’d all had slightly different ideas about how our site was going to look. Since the style guide touched so much of the website, we wanted to involve everyone who worked on design, development, or branding, however, it’s impossible to accommodate the insight and opinions of so many people. That said, we ended up making decisions that we deemed best for the website users, while building something flexible enough to allow easy updates.

Preparing for the Launch

Finally, after months of designing, building, testing, and rebuilding, we had developed a set of modules for use across the HubSpot site. But how to display them?

We wanted anyone using the modules to be able to understand the design principles that went into their creation. Furthermore, we wanted to create a reference for future designers on our team and anyone else who might need to iterate on our styles.

After some discussion, we built out two pages to house our finished style guide: Foundations and Components. The Foundations page goes over our design and branding principles, including specific details regarding our typography, iconography, colors, logos, and imagery. The Components page shows those design elements in action: we use this page as a library of all our customizable modules used for website development. We then set up recurring trainings with the marketing team so that everyone could use the guide for their projects.

And with that, the style guide had launched.

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Life After the Style Guide

When we finished the style guide, I quickly realized that it wasn’t just a major revamp of our site styles; the style guide had totally changed how my team tackles new projects and interfaces with the rest of the marketing team.

Now, all of our projects reference the style guide in some form or another. As soon as we receive a new project request, we check to see if it might be something that can be built solely through our style guide components. If not, we’re conscious of creating and building new elements that fit with our guide. When we receive a project that requires a more custom or novel approach, we’re cognizant of how we might be “breaking” our style guidelines; sometimes this opens the door to iterating on our current styles.

The style guide has improved so many parts of our workflow, but I think these are some of the most important benefits:

  • Design and development work together more efficiently. Before the style guide conversations, we didn’t have a shared vocabulary between design, development, and other stakeholders. Now, we all have a common reference point for our current and future designs.
  • We get to work with cleaner, more scalable code. On the development side, our code base is now far cleaner and easier to maintain. Whenever I start a new project, I immediately reference the global styles and variables from the style guide. Furthermore, I can now make changes that will be reflected across all parts of the website. 
  • Our onboarding process has become more standardized. Getting new team members up to speed is so much easier when we can point to an interactive document to illustrate our design and development philosophies. The style guide also serves as an inventory of all our approved, polished design elements and their accompanying code, so there’s no need to track down old files or question whether or not something is out-of-date.

Of course, it wasn't just my team that benefited from the style guide: other members of the marketing team could now make their own pages without needing to wait for design or development resources. One of my coworkers was telling me how she was rebuilding a significant part of the website, a task which would have taken at least six weeks at her last company. The style guide allowed her to finish in about a day. How crazy is that?

4 Tips for Building Your Own Style Guide

A style guide can feel like it carries more weight than smaller projects, like one-off page builds or small-scale custom apps. And in many ways, it does: it’s a huge undertaking that will theoretically affect every page on your website.

To build it properly, you need to make choices about countless creative details. To implement those changes, you’ll need to refactor or replace thousands of lines of existing code. It can be grueling. It helped me to remember that this is a one-time process that helps avoid those repetitive conversations in the future. 

Here are a few tips that I learned from the process:

  1. Before you start, designate the project leaders. I’d recommend starting with clear decision-makers on both the design and development sides so that you don’t get stuck waiting for your team to come to a consensus on any one detail.
  2. Look at other companies’ guides for inspiration. If you’re not sure where to start, go through other companies’ guides and pull out the parts that seem most important to your process. For starters, I’d recommend taking a look at Starbucks, GitHub, and MailChimp.
  3. Remember that your guide will change over time. It’s important to not get too caught up in nitpicky details. As long as you’re building your style guide to be easily maintained and updated, you can refine and iterate your styles over time.
  4. Make sure you DO change your guide. A style guide means that you don’t have to redesign your entire site to experiment with little changes, so try to make sure that your guide doesn’t sit stagnant post-launch. Start A/B testing, get user feedback, and observe how your team is working together.

Ultimately, if your website is anything like ours -- somewhat large, always changing, worked on by multiple designers and developers -- a style guide becomes more than a nice-to-have. It’s a necessity. And it’s worth it, I promise. 

Want to check out the finished product? Our finished style guide consists of two pages, Foundations and Components. Both sections of the style guide were designed by Anna Faber-Hammond and built by me (Annabeth). We’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below. 

free do-it-yourself-design guide and resources

Virtual reality has an adorable and fuzzy future

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As an animated character, there’s nothing remarkable about Henry the hedgehog. His quill-covered body is shaped roughly like a Rocher caramel-covered chocolate. He has a small, yet impressively flexible mouth and two large and very expressive eyes, which, at the moment, seem to be considering me.

I’m watching Henry (while he may or may not be watching me) during his eponymous nine-minute animated quest to find a single friend. Henry is companionless because his body is covered in quills and he has the unnerving habit of wanting to hug everyone.

More about Facebook, Virtual Reality, Tech, Gadgets, and Oculus Rift

Google Brings App Engine And Cloud Datastore To Its New East Coast Region

google_south_carolina_data_center It’s only been two weeks since Google first launched some of its core Cloud Platform services in its South Carolina data center (the ‘us-east1 region’ if you want to be precise). At the time, the two most glaringly missing service in this new East Coast region was Google App Engine. But as the company announced today, App Engine is now available in this region, together with… Read More

How to Teach Yourself SEO in 30 Days

Search engine optimization is complicated.

For many, it’s considered a dark art, peppered with unknowns and uncertainties. And while some marketers consider it an exciting challenge, others back away from it in fear that they'll simply never get it right. 

However, the truth is, if you are doing any kind of online marketing, having even a basic understanding of SEO can help you deliver more successful strategies and campaigns.

So to help set you up for success, we've put together a 30-day plan designed to give you a better sense of how SEO works, how it fits into your strategy, and what tools you can use to measure and report on your efforts. While this post won't turn you into an SEO pro overnight, we promise it's full of resources that will make your life as a digital marketer just a little bit easier.

Let's get started. 

Section 1: SEO Concepts

After completing days 1-4 you’ll have a basic understanding of how search engines work, a clear sense of the difference between on- and off-page SEO, as well as an overarching understanding of how Google's algorithmic updates have shaped how people approach SEO today.

Day 1: Learn about how search engines work.

Before you start digging into SEO concepts, you'll need to develop your understanding of how search engines work.

To ease yourself into your 30 days, sit down and watch this video by the former head of Webspam at Google, Matt Cutts. By the end of it, you should have a better understanding of how search engines work.

Day 2: Build out your SEO reading list.

SEO is a constantly evolving phenomenon. For this reason, a huge part of being “au fait” with SEO is reading. Thankfully, there are a number of really great SEO blogs out there that can help you keep on top of the ever-changing SEO landscape.

Here are some blogs you should bookmark right now. We encourage you to make some time each day to visit at least a few of them:

Day 3: Learn about SEO’s role in inbound marketing.

SEO and inbound marketing are part of the same ecosystem. The relationship between them is symbiotic -- SEO aids the success of inbound marketing by ensuring content is found, and inbound marketing enables SEO by creating relevant quality content that people want to link to.

To really understand how to create a successful inbound marketing strategy, inbound marketers must understand where SEO fits with inbound marketing.

HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Certification is a free and comprehensive way to learn the basics of SEO and how it fits within Inbound Marketing.

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Here are two other great resources for helping you understand this important relationship:

Day 4: Learn the basics of on-page SEO.

For most, on-page SEO is the easiest part of SEO to understand because you can actually see and control it. On-page SEO refers to what search engine crawlers can discern from the content and structure of your site. These elements include the following:

  1. Content (both design and words)
  2. Title Tags
  3. URLs
  4. Image Alt Tags
  5. Internal linking
  6. Schema Markup
  7. Site architecture 
  8. XML sitemaps

To learn more about on-page SEO, check out this comprehensive guide from the folks at Moz.

Day 5: Learn the basics of off-page SEO.

This is the side of SEO that breaks people out it a cold sweat. It shouldn’t.

Off-page SEO factors largely revolve around links. They encompass anything that affects your search engine visibility outside of the information that can be read on your website.

At this stage, you just need to develop an overarching understanding of what’s involved in off-page SEO. (You’ll learn more about link-building later on.)

This handy resource from Search Engine Land lists all the factors related to off-page SEO.

Day 6: Become familiar with the Google zoo.

Google algorithm updates are a headache for search engine optimists. In fact, they are a headache for all digital marketers.

That said, it's helpful to become familiar with the major updates: Google Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, and Pirate. Again, Moz has a great resource which documents and details all known algorithmic updates since the year 2000.

To better understand if and how these updates affect your website, try checking your site using Baracuda Digital’s Panguin tool.

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Section 2: SEO Tools

Before you get your hands dirty with SEO, you need to have your analytics tools all set up and ready to go. At the end of this section, you’ll have done just that.

Day 7: Set up your analytics.

Take the time to set up your analytics package of choice. Google Analytics tends to be the most popular choice of in terms of analytics packages. (If you're a HubSpot customer, you can integrate Google Analytics with your portal.)

For more on how to configure your Google Analytics for SEO, follow this guide.

Day 8: Set up the Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) for your site.

If you’re serious about wanting your website to rank in Google, the Google Search Console is essential. Essentially, this tool helps you see your website as Google sees it by giving you insights into pages that have been indexed, links that are pointing to your site, popular keywords, rank positions, click through rates, etc.

search-console

Take some time to set up your Search Console and dig into the data. Once you become familiar with it, you can also go ahead an install Bing's Webmaster Tools for further insights.

This beginner’s guide to the Google Search Console from Moz has everything you need to get started. 

Section 3: Competitor Analysis & Keyword Research

Competitor and keyword research is an essential ingredient for implementing successful SEO strategies, as well as overall content or blogging strategies. For this reason, you should spend ample time developing your skills in this area. This will take some time, so have patience. The goal here isn't to copy or replicate what the competitors are doing, but rather, it's to make sure you're doing more, doing it more effectively, and providing a better solution for your visitors.

Follow the steps below and you’ll have the basic skills required to execute successfully.

Day 9-15: Turn yourself into a keyword research pro.

There’s nothing quite like learning how to do keyword research on the fly. However, a really great resource to help you do so is Nick Eubanks' one-week course on mastering the skill.

After signing up to this course, you will receive one email per day for seven days explaining how to implement different stages of keyword research. It’s very practical -- so much so that at the end of the seven days, you’ll have completed your first keyword research project for your business.

The course does cost $127 (you can get a starter version for $67), but if you have the budget, it’s an investment that’s totally worth it.

If you don’t have the money to spend on the course, check out this really great 50-minute keyword analysis tutorial from Matthew Barby. It brings you through a full process for carrying out extensive keyword research for blogs, along with all the different tools that you can use -- both free and paid.

Day 16-19: Run a competitor analysis.

Running a competitor analysis is an essential part of defining an SEO strategy. Competitor and keyword analysis go hand in hand, and in many ways, they provide the basis for a solid SEO strategy.

During your SEO analysis, you’ll need to uncover answers to the following:

  1. Who are your main competitors?
  2. What do their traffic levels look like? 
  3. What keywords and phrases are they ranking for?
  4. What does their backlink profile look like?
  5. What kind of social media presence have they got?
  6. What does their content strategy look like?

Here are some resources that will help you to get started:

Section 4: Link Building

Link building remains at the heart of SEO. At the end of this section, you should have made a start on developing your own link-building strategy.

Day 20: Develop an understanding of link building.

Link building - a term synonymous with off-page SEO -- refers to the practice of acquiring links from other websites to your own.

The number of high-quality links linking to your website remains one of the most important ranking factors in SEO. There are many techniques for building links, but it is by no means an easy job. It's both challenging and time-consuming. However, by creating great content you’re likely to attract many links organically, without actually having to spend time looking for them.

This ebook by Paddy Moogan of Aira explains the importance and art of link building.

Day 21-23: Start developing a link building strategy.

This does not mean finding out where you can purchase a million supposedly high-quality links to your blog.

After reading Paddy’s ebook, you should have a thorough understanding of the importance of link building, as well as a good idea of how to do it. Now it’s time to take that to the next level.

Jon Cooper of Point Blank SEO, has put together a comprehensive list of link building tactics. You should take the time to familiarize yourself with them (there are lots of them), and figure out how you can go about implementing some of them into your own strategy

Section 5: Local SEO

Day 24-26: Educate yourself on local SEO.

Local SEO is something that more and more people have started to speak about and specialise in over the last couple of years. It’s different from organic, traditional SEO, as it is focused on providing results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current location.

For example, if I search for ‘best pubs’ on my desktop right now, Google would provide me with results that are nearest to me.

best-pubs

The best place to start with local SEO is Google My Business, where you can begin by claiming your page.

Once you've done that, check out our Introductory Guide to Improving Your Local SEO.

Other great resources include this guide from eConsultancy and all these SlideShares by Local SEO expert, Greg Gifford. Here's one of my favorites that presented at BrightonSEO earlier this year:

 

Section 6: Measuring SEO

Measurement is essential for implementing successful SEO strategies. You’ll need to track data around things like rankings, referrals, and links in order to analyze your SEO strategy and optimize it for success.

Day 27-29: Learn what you need to measure.

The first step towards successful measurement is finding out exactly what you need to measure. Here’s what we recommend you start with:

  1. Search engine share of referring visits
  2. Search engine referrals
  3. Visits referred by specific search engine terms and phrases
  4. Conversion rate by search query term/phrase
  5. Number of pages receiving at least one visit from search engines
  6. Rankings

Another really important thing to note here is that you should try to align your SEO metrics against business objectives. If your goal is to generate more email signups from blog content, then the search visibility of long-tail keywords coming through to your blog content should be high on the list. Having such clear objectives will make it very easy to deem the success or failure of your SEO strategy.

To get started, follow Neil Patel’s guide to measuring SEO success.

Day 30: Relish your newfound knowledge.

Looking for more SEO tips? Tune into Marketing Grader Live on Wednesday, October 21st (4pm BST/11am ET) to see HubSpot's Kieran Flanagan and the king of SEO, Rand Fishkin, grade three websites LIVE in 24 minutes.

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Niantic Raises $20M From Google, Pokémon Company, And Nintendo

niantic-nintendo Just about two months ago, the maker of the popular-with-nerds game Ingress, Niantic Labs, was spun out of Google. Last month, the newly formed Niantic, Inc. announced that it had begun working on a project called Pokémon GO. Today? The company is announcing a $20M Series A round of funding with investments from Pokémon Company Group, Google and Nintendo. It could see $10M more if it… Read More
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