Monthly Archives: December 2019
As link building becomes a more cautionary practice it’s necessary to get a clear idea of how to acquire the best links for your website, in light of this guest blogging in 2020 can be a good method.
Although Google has openly placed more scrutiny on guest blogging, there is undoubtedly still value in acquiring a link from a recognizable high-authority site in your niche. That being said, it’s not easy to secure links from top sites-especially when you need to scale up your efforts. Many sites only offer nofollow links and with growing competition, there is no shortage of good writers to populate these blog sites with high-quality articles.
This doesn’t mean that all hope is lost in the world of guest blogging. It just means your efforts need to be planned and strategized. Here are some top tips to get the most out of your guest blogging in 2020.
- Create a master list of guest blogging sites
- Qualify relevance
- Qualify authority
- Check search visibility
- Combine outreach tactics to land opportunities
- Research your target sites blog
- Strategize your topic
- Create an enticing storyline with your headings
- Submit infographics
- Make your links count
1. Create a master list of guest blogging sites
Be extremely organized with your approach to guest blogging to streamline the process. Create a master list on a spreadsheet in order to keep track of your efforts. Record the sites you’ve made contact with, the dates you’ve submitted articles or pitches and any notes on the efforts you’ve made to help you avoid duplicate efforts.
Start with a pre-existing list
There are dozens of sites that have created a list of the top guest blogging sites for multiple industries. You can start your master list with the most popular authority sites in your niche by exploring a few pre-existing lists.
A few examples that offer a list of guest blogging sites are Lilach Bullock, Izideo, Advanced Web Ranking, and Solvid. This will start you off with a solid base of top sites to work from that are well known within your niche.
It’s impossible to know about every website that offers guest blogging without doing some background research. One method of discovery is to use command operatives to scrape Google.
Use the following commands paired with a keyword to find guest blogging sites:
- “inurl” will tell Google to look for keywords in the URL
- “intitle” will find sites with the keyword in the title
Mix and match commands to produce different results:
Inurl: “digital marketing” + “write for us”
Intitle: SEO + “guest post”
Check out guest post sites from your competition
It’s no secret that you can use any backlink report to get the inside scoop on the strength of your competitions backlink profile. Use Moz, SEMRush, Ahrefs or any tool of your choice to produce to see what links your competition has acquired. In the digital marketing space, a typical backlink profile will yield a number of guest blogging sites your competition found in which you can also submit an article.
2. Qualify relevance
If there were no authority transferred by links, what sites would you link to? This type of approach to link building will help you seek out the sites that are highly relevant to your website without being blinded by domain authority.
It happens quite often that at first glance a website DA will influence your perception of the quality of the link which is not always an accurate indication of whether that link will benefit your site.
Make sure the website you are submitting to is in your niche or a direct vertical. Confirm they are publishing content similar to yours so that a clearly defined relationship can be established that indicates relevance to your content.
3. Qualify authority
The DA of a site is the first indicator of a quality link. Although it doesn’t provide the entire picture of what makes up a quality link, you can use this indicator to prioritize your submission sites.
Use the Mozbar for a quick view of a website’s metrics before making a submission.
Target sites that will have a positive impact on your authority. Certain keywords will require links from higher DA sites and others you can get away with links from lower DA sites.
4. Check search visibility
The search visibility of a website indicates how well the site is performing by ranking for keywords and driving traffic. A site that has good metrics won’t necessarily be a good link if it doesn’t have any visitors reading its content.
The authority gained from a link is an important aspect of link building, but the overarching goal behind the practice is to build streams of relevant traffic and awareness of your website.
5. Combine outreach tactics to land opportunities
Not every site will advertise that they accept guest posts but that doesn’t mean they won’t be happy to publish some great content you’re offering. Adam Envoy was able to secure 8 DA60+ sites in 15 days in his guest-posting project and attributed a portion of his success to targeting site owners with an outreach email before proposing a guest post.
Use LinkedIn and Facebook to make initial contact with content managers and editors and let them know you’re interested in link building and guest blogging. In most cases, you will get a response that will lead you to the right person and a link building opportunity.
Even if you don’t get the desired response, making contact is the first step in building a mutually beneficial relationship further down the line.
6. Research your target sites blog
One of the top reasons why site owners don’t respond to an outreach email is because “They didn’t read my blog”. Get a feel for the type of content they’re publishing by scanning through titles and reading relevant content. You can pick up on trends and characteristics that will make your pitch much more targeted to your prospect’s website.
7. Strategize your topic
Choose a topic that hasn’t been covered in-depth on your prospects’ blog. This presents more value for a blog owner to be presented with the option of adding content their site is lacking.
The topic you choose to write about should be something suited to your strength. Apart from making a list-style article, dive deep into a relevant topic that can be broken down and optimized for a specific keyword topic. Writing optimized SEO content is a bonus for publishers when the article is already primed and ready to rank.
8. Create an enticing storyline with your headings
Most online readers are scanners by nature, in fact, 43% of people admit to skimming through articles when they read them. which is a trait you can capitalize on with an original title and descriptive subtitles. Your outline should reflect a storyline that clearly describes the content of your article.
The first impression of your article an editor (and their audience) will have is the headline of your proposed article. This should clearly convey to the reader what they will get from reading your post and how will it will benefit them. Use headline strategies that are proven to improve click-through rates by appealing to the various types of readers.
Follow up the headline with your main points emphasized as subtitles. Make your article actionable and complete for a person who scans through your content.
9. Submit infographics
Although the numbers will show that infographics peaked in 2014 and 2015, they are still an effective means of creating backlinks. In many cases, infographics receive exceptional consideration as a guest post because publishers know that the potential to attract backlinks improves tremendously.
Image source: Moz
Use an infographic tool from companies like Venngage, Visme or Piktochart to add more appeal to your article submissions.
10. Make your links count
The links you insert in your article should provide value to the reader by taking them somewhere that enhances their understanding of a particular point or topic.
Contextual links are more valuable than the link in the author’s box. Make sure to give yourself a link to content that is relevant to your article. Avoid being overly self-promotional by making sure the links you give yourself are truly beneficial to the reader.
Keep in mind excessive anchor text to the same page will result in a negative effect on your ranking. Mix up your links to appear natural with a brand link, long-tail, and naked URL wherever applicable.
Promote previously published articles
Link to previously published articles to increase the DA of those pages and create more powerful links to your site.
Linking to articles you’ve published is less conspicuous than linking to your own site, which gives you more leeway in the number of links you create.
The value of your work as a future guest author increases when site owners see you link to your published work thereby promoting their site as well.
Link to prospects and influencers
Make it a point to link to the people who are in a position to help you in your backlinking strategies. Separate yourself from the masses by showing an influencer quality links you’ve sent to their work. Keep track of the links you accumulate and make it part of your outreach strategy to build powerful alliances and partnerships.
Enjoy the benefits of guest blogging
There is no doubt that despite the scrutiny placed on guest blogging by Google, it is still one of many effective methods of link building.
A well-executed strategy will provide your site targeted referral traffic as well as improved authority and ranking ability. Use guest blogging opportunities to brand your business, demonstrate thought leadership and build mutually beneficial relationships through your link building efforts in 2020.
Christian Carere is an avid contributor to the digital marketing community and a social media enthusiast. He founded Digital Ducats Inc. to help businesses generate more leads and new clients through custom-designed SEO strategies.
Snapchat’s most popular yet under-exploited feature is finally getting the spotlight in 2020. Starting in February with a global release, your customizable Bitmoji avatar will become the star of a full-motion cartoon series called Bitmoji TV. It’s a massive evolution for Bitmoji beyond the chat stickers and comic strip-style Stories where they were being squandered to date.
Creating original in-house shows for its Discover section that can’t be copied could help Snapchat differentiate from the plethora of short-form video platforms out there ranging from YouTube to Facebook Watch to TikTok. Bitmoji TV could also up the quality of Discover, which still feels like a tabloid magazine rack full of scantly clad women, gross-out imagery, and other shocking content merely meant to catch the eye and draw a click.
With Bitmoji TV, your avatar and those of your friends will appear in regularly-scheduled adventures ranging from playing the crew of Star Treky spaceship to being secret agents to falling in love with robots or becoming zombies. The trailer Snapchat released previews an animation style reminiscent of Netflix’s Big Mouth.
TechCrunch asked Snap for more details, including how long episodes will be, how often they’ll be released, whether they’ll include ads, and if the company acquired anyone or brought on famous talent to produce the series. A Snap spokesperson declined to provide more details, but sent over this statement: “Bitmoji TV isn’t available in your network yet, but stay tuned for the global premiere soon!”
The Snapchat Show page for Bitmoji TV notes it is coming in February 2020. Users can visit here on mobile to subscribe to Bitmoji TV so it shows up prominently on their Discover page, or turn on notifications about its new content.
Snap realizes Bitmoji’s value
Snap has had a tough few years as many of its core features have been ruthlessly copied by the Facebook family of apps. Instagram Stories killed Snap’s growth for years and effectively stole the broadcast medium from its inventor. Facebook also ramped up it augmented reality selfie filters, added more ephemeral messaging features, and launched Watch as a competitor to Snapchat Discover.
Two years ago I wrote that Facebook was crazy not to be competing with Bitmoji too. Six months later we were first to report Facebook Avatars was in the works, and this year they launched as Messenger chat stickers in Australia with plans for a global release in 2019 or early 2020. But Facebook’s slow movement here, Google’s half-assed entry, and Twitter’s lack of an attempt have given Snapchat’s Bitmoji a massive headstart. And now Snap is finally leveraging it.
“TV” is actually a return to Bitmoji’s roots. The startup Bitstrips originally offered an app for customizing the face, hair, clothes, and more of your avatar and then creating comic strips for them to appear in. Snap acquired Bitstrips back in 2016 for just $ 64.2 million — a steal not far off from Facebook snatching Instagram for under a billion. The standalone Bitmoji app blew up as soon as Snapchat began offering the avatars as chat stickers. It had over 330 million downloads as of April according to Sensor Tower despite Snapchat now letting you create your avatar in its main app.
Eventually, Snap began expanding Bitmoji’s uses. In 2017 Bitmoji went 3D and you could start overlaying them as augmented reality characters on your Snaps. The next year Snap improved their graphics, then launched the Snap Kit developer platform and Bitmoji Kit. This allows apps to build atop Snapchat login and use your Bitmoji as a profile pic. Soon they were appearing as Fitbit smart watch faces, alongside your Venmo transaction, and on Snapchat-sold merchandise from t-shirts to mugs. It’s part of a wise strategy to beat copycats by allowing allies to use real thing rather than building their own knock-off. That’s fueled the “Snapback” comeback which has seen Snap’s share price climb out of the gutter at $ 5.79 at the start of 2019 to $ 16.09 now.
One of Snap smartest innovations was Bitmoji Stories — the ancestor to Bitmoji TV. These daily Stories let you tap frame-by-frame through short comic strip-style interactions starring your avatar. Occasionally Bitmoji Stories would include rudimentary animation, but most frames were still images with text bubbles. Bitmoji could once again drive a narrative, rather than just being a communication tool. Still, they seem underutilized.
In 2019, Snapchat wised up. Bitmoji have become nearly ubiquitous amongst teens and Snapchat’s 210 million daily users. They’re the Google or Kleenex of cartoonish personalized avatars. Their goofy nature is also a perfect fit for Snapchat, and a reason they’re tough for stiffer and older tech giants to convincingly copy.
In April, Snap announced its new games platform inside its messaging feature that let you play as your Bitmoji against friends’ avatars in games ranging from Mario Party ripoff Bitmoji Party to tennis, shoot-em ups, and cooking competitions. Snap injects ads into the games, making Bitmoji key to its efforts to monetize its central messaging use case. Last month it launched custom and branded clothing for Bitmoji, which could open opportunities to earn money selling premium outfits or showing off brand sponsorships.
To truly take advantage of Bitmoji’s unique popularity, though, Snap needed to build longer-form experiences with the avatars at the center that . Stickers and Stories and games were fun, but none felt like must-see content. With Bitmoji TV, Snap may have found a way to get users to drag their friends into the app. Since everyone sees their own Bitmoji as the star, the cartoons could be more compelling then ones with impersonal characters you might find elsewhere around the web.
But Bitmoji TV’s success will depend largely on the quality of the writing. If your avatar is constantly getting into funny, meme-worthy situations, you’ll keep coming back to watch. But Snap’s teen audience has a keen nose for inauthentic bullsh*t. If the Shows feel forced, too childish, or boring, Bitmoji TV will flop. Snap would be savvy to invest in great Hollywood talent to produce the episodes.
High quality Bitmoji TV shorts could rescue Snapchat Discover from its own mediocrity. There are a few strong brands like ESPN SportsCenter on the platform, and Snap has several original Shows with over 25 million unique viewers. It’s also greenlit additional seasons of Shows like Dead Girls Detective Agency and new biopic clips from Serena Williams and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Still, a scroll through the Discover and Shows sections reveals plenty of trashy clickbait that surely scares away premium advertisers.
Bitmoji TV could offer video that’s not only fun and snackable, but out of reach for competitors who don’t have a scaled avatar platform of their own. As with the recent launch of Snapchat Cameos, the company has realized that the most addictive experiences center on its users’ own faces. Snapchat turned the selfie into the future of communication. Bitmoji TV could make an animated recreation of your selfie into the future of content.
Ten years ago, the entrepreneur-savants running Silicon Valley were treated like royalty. Now we know just how badly their bright ideas can backfire.
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Ad blockers are a constant of the internet, but what does that mean for us? After comparing two different sources for one KPI, I noticed a significant difference. This piece covers the observations made about the Google Analytics glitch.
A strange disparity
Whilst collecting our monthly KPIs I came across an interesting error.
One of our KPIs, demo requests, which we track in two ways – with Google Analytics events and through a custom Zapier integration that inserts the prospects’ details into a Google Sheet and our internal Attio account.
After comparing the two datasets, I noticed a significant difference in the month’s numbers. The number of requested demos on our Google Sheet was 22% higher than the number of recorded demo requests on Google Analytics.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to tell which demo requests weren’t recorded due to the Google Analytics glitch but we can say for certain that a significant proportion of this month’s demo requesters were somehow subverting Google Analytics.
What can disrupt a websites’ tracking, is used by a considerable number of people, and is applied to websites indiscriminately?
Like almost the entire population of the internet, I hate ads. Especially the in-your-face, unskippable, make-me-hate-your-website ads. So I use an ad blocker. I’ll happily disable ads on websites that serve unobtrusive and relevant ads but as a general rule of thumb, I’ll be loading a site with ads blocked. My behavior pattern is certainly common. And consequential. Since the most common permissions for ad blockers is to opt-out, rather than in, then visitors to your website will be automatically blocking ads.
It’s not until delving into this problem that I realized that it’s not just ads that your average ad blocker is blocking. Almost anything that can track or identify you is being blocked. Google Analytics included.
Our customers vs the general public
I found a variety of studies that put the percentage of internet users using an ad blocker at 20-27%. Since it’s reasonable to assume that if you use an ad blocker you’re more technologically-savvy than the average internet user, and as a power-user centric, Web 3.0, SaaS application, you’d expect our prospects to exhibit a higher percentage of ad blocker usage.
However, the similarity in our 22% dataset disparity and ~24% of global internet users blocking ads suggests that the potential customers landing on our website are no more likely to be using an ad blocker than a random selection of internet users.
It would be an interesting extension to see if the ad blocker usage changed when browsing in a professional setting.
A cause for concern
From a data analysis standpoint, it might seem like the issue of ad blockers and blocked analytics tracking would be a problem, a misrepresentation of actual events is never good surely?
In actual fact, it’s not an issue at all.
Whilst it’s true that the demo request events aren’t tracked, neither are the page view, demo form open, or demo form close events. Holistically, our dataset in Google Analytics is exactly the same, on a relative basis, as if the blocked events were also tracked.
Now you could look into differences in user actions based on their usage of an ad blocker but the likelihood of finding any meaningful correlation is close to nil. If someone installs an ad blocker, are they more likely to request a demo for a SaaS product? Potentially, but I doubt it.
The only downside to ~24% of your visitors using ad blocking software is that it reduces the absolute value of our KPIs. When comparing year-on-year growth or conversion rates this doesn’t matter, but when presenting absolute values to potential investors it would certainly be nicer to have them 22% higher.
Alex Vale leads the growth efforts at Attio, the next generation of intelligent relationship workspace.
Social media influencers have been known to promote events around the world for the right price — decisions that sometimes prove to be mistakes. Bella Hadid, who promoted the failed Fyre Festival by vacationing in the Bahamas with other models for a video designed to sell tickets, later apologized for her involvement.
Not everyone is apologizing for what’s widely seen as a new misstep in the world of influencer marketing: the paid attendance of celebrities and other social media stars this past weekend to the three-day-long MDL Beast Festival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The event, billed by the country as its largest arts, culture and music festival, was visited by models Alessandra Ambrosio and Romee Strijd; actors Ryan Phillippe, Wilmer Valderrama and Armie Hammer; DJ Steve Aoki; and social media stars Sofia Richie and Scott Disick, among others. All were photographed at the event. Some also posted pictures to Instagram and other social media outlets, singing the region’s praises and including the hashtag #mdlbeast.
The entire affair aimed to promote the efforts of its de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known as MBS), to reform the conservative kingdom, which is well-known for its oppression of women’s rights and ethnic and racial minority rights. The country has been aggressively trying to polish its image amid growing concern over the years-long, Saudi-led civil war in Yemen that has led to mass starvation and more than 100,000 fatalities; the gruesome, state-directed assassination of Saudi Arabian dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was reportedly dismembered with a bone saw; and the kingdom’s many other efforts to stifle dissent.
In just one example of how far the kingdom is willing to go, it staged the first-ever WWE women’s match in Riyadh on Halloween, an effort that Amnesty International’s advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa called “sportswashing.” The MDL Beast Festival is yet attempt to highlight how progressive Saudi Arabia has ostensibly come.
Some have pushed against the kingdom’s charm offensive. Hip-hop star Nicki Minaj canceled a planned performance in Saudi Arabia in July at a separate new international music festival there, after the nonprofit Human Rights Foundation asked her to back out of the gig. At the time, Minaj issued a statement, saying, “I want nothing more than to bring my show to fans in Saudi Arabia, [but] after better educating myself on the issues, I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression.”
Model Emily Ratajkowski also turned down a paid invitation to attend this weekend’s festival, citing Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. “It is very important to me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, freedom of expression and the right to a free press. I hope coming forward on this brings more attention to the injustices happening there.”
Ryan Philippe is meanwhile defending on Instagram his decision to accept the trip to this past weekend’s extravaganza. As he writes, “i had a magical day with wonderful people. i love travel. i love different cultures. i love how we can find ways to connect through our human oneness, the pure desire for love and freedom. no matter where in the world. hoping those connections help to bring even more positive change and progress.”
It’s a decision that’s likely to earn Phillippe — and other high-wattage attendees — more bad publicity in the coming days, as the world turns its attention to a new development in the Khashoggi case.
While more than a year ago, the CIA concluded that MBS ordered his assassination, the kingdom has continued to deny any involvement in the murder, alleging instead that it was a last-minute decision by Saudi agents on the ground. (This narrative “contradicts ample evidence that the agents came with an intent to kill and the tools to do so,” notes the New York Times.)
Now, in a court today in Saudi Arabia, following a trial that was shrouded in secrecy, five men were sentenced to death and three others to prison terms totaling 24 years over Khashoggi’s killing, while a former top adviser to MBS and a former deputy intelligence chief were both cleared.
The sentences are subject to appeal, notes the Times, which separately notes that in Saudi Arabia, death sentences typically involve beheadings in public squares. Either way, the sentencing seems poised to further complicate Western relations with the kingdom — for influencers and a lot of others in the position of having to decide whether or not to accept its money. The verdict was a “whitewash,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director, in a statement earlier today that echoes the concern of many human rights groups.
Salesforce turned 20 this year, and the most successful pure enterprise SaaS company ever showed no signs of slowing down. Consider that the company finished the year on an $ 18 billion run rate, rushing toward its 2022 revenue goal of $ 20 billion. Oh, and it also spent a tidy $ 15.7 billion to buy Tableau this year in the most high-profile and expensive acquisition it’s ever made.
Co-founder, chairman and CEO Marc Benioff published a book called Trailblazer about running a socially responsible company, and made the rounds promoting it. In fact, he even stopped by TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco in September, telling the audience that capitalism as we know it is dead. Still, the company announced it was building two more towers in Sydney and Dublin.
It also promoted Bret Taylor just last week, who could be in line as heir apparent to Benioff and co-CEO Keith Block whenever they decide to retire. The company closed the year with a bang with a $ 4.5 billion quarter. Salesforce, for the most part, has somehow been able to balance Benioff’s vision of responsible capitalism while building a company makes money in bunches, one that continues to grow and flourish, and that’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
All aboard the gravy train
The company just keeps churning out good quarters. Here’s what this year looked like:
Q4 is the most competitive time period for ecommerce businesses, deals and promotions offered to capitalize on holiday season traffic bring hordes of potential purchasers to your site.
One of the most valuable groups of users that comes out of the holiday season is net-new users, who could have found out about the product from an ad, friend, influencer, or some other referral. These users are more expensive to acquire because they have no knowledge of the brand, so they need more touchpoints when compared to your current customers.
Whether or not you convert those new users into customers in Q4, convincing them to be long-term customers should be an important part of your Q1 strategy. In this post, I will walk through the value of some of these different holiday audiences and how to engage with them in Q1 to turn them into paying customers.
Often, the largest and best-converting Q4 audiences are current customers who are loyal to the brand and looking for some type of discount during major holiday times like Cyber Monday and Black Friday. These audiences are highly valuable, and you don’t have to pay much to bring them back to your site, but there are other audiences you should consider to help you reach your goals in Q1. These pointers will help you figure out how you can engage them.
1. Potential customers who visited but didn’t convert
Plan to re-engage potential customers who visited the site but didn’t purchase.
This could be for a variety of reasons:
- They didn’t find the product they were looking for
- Increased competition
- They didn’t think the deal was enticing enough, and others
With this audience, your lowest-hanging fruit is the group of users who added something to their cart or added payment information but didn’t convert. I recommend getting in front of them with special promotions or discounts.
2. First-time purchasers from Q4
First-time purchasers from Q4 will be even more valuable if converted into long-term customers. Consider two segments: those who purchased during Cyber weekend and new customers in general. You can infer that customers that purchased during Cyber weekend are more inclined and driven to purchase when there is a deal, so make sure to target them with ads that speak to this.
All of the audiences above represent retargeting audiences. In order to help reach acquisition goals in Q1, I recommend using data from these audience segments to build acquisition audiences as well – notably, building Facebook lookalike audiences from your segments of highest-life-time value (LTV) and most frequently engaged customers.
Other interesting LAL audience tests for Q1 could include building audiences off of first-time customers and potential customers who visited the site but didn’t convert.
Now that you’ve established the holiday customers to re-engage in Q1, it’s time to develop the messaging and offers to advertise to those users. Since many of these customers converted because of the discounts and sales offered in Q4, messages to consider would be incorporating Q1 holidays into the media plan and offer another discount or sale.
Audiences to target with these ads include
- First-time purchasers
- New users generated from lookalike audiences
- Users who visited the site without converting
For longer-term customers, consider showcasing new products or top products to retarget customers. To see what resonates the best with users test these with a variety of creatives – carousels, videos, and single images that feature these different product groupings.
Another strategy is to showcase complementary products to users who purchased a specific product or product type during the holiday season. For example, if someone purchased an Xbox, retarget them with Xbox games in Q1.
The holiday season brings increases in traffic, new customers, and site revenue. Don’t just celebrate these wins, use the data to keep winning by building strong audience segments and messaging to help push growth in Q1 2020.
Lauren Crain is a Client Services Lead in 3Q Digital’s SMB division, 3Q Incubate.
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