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Monthly Archives: January 2021

Advanced guide to creating an editorial calendar that boosts conversions

January 15, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Content creation can be an overwhelming task for websites/blogs that need to push out content on a daily basis, to a consistent audience.
  • ‘Quality’ exceeds ‘Quantity’ and webmasters and content creators should absolutely follow that to make sure they’re not churning low-quality content pieces for their audience. This is where the requirement of an ‘Editorial Calendar’ comes in.
  • With the careful implementation of the right Editorial Calendar, content teams can stay prepared and streamline their efforts towards the common goal.
  • There are various formats that one can work with. However, as they progress with the events of their calendar, they will need to keep updating their Editorial Calendar for relevance, based on feedback.
  • The benefits are myriad. The team is clearly able to see the number of published content for a given period and make modifications accordingly.

Did you know that 86% of B2C companies use content marketing as a part of their marketing strategy? The significance lies in two facts: the right mix of content marketing strategies can reach out to a wider audience. And the successful ones can provide the audience more than what they come to expect. High-quality content that comes from the right content marketing mix is not only useful for the audience but also helps brands establish a reputed impression for the target demographic. And it is highly agreed that an ‘Editorial Calendar’ is the stepping stone to creating a great content mix that is going to work wonders for the efforts put in by marketers.

With a schedule in place, marketers are able to use the editorial calendar to control their content type for media platforms during a given period. They are able to coordinate content for publishing blog posts, ebooks, White papers, infographics, videos, podcasts, newsletters, or social media.

Editorial calendar - Template

By better organizing and scheduling the brand’s content packets,  an editorial calendar can help everyone on the team streamline their efforts.

An editorial calendar’s contribution to your business and brand

There’s so much to accomplish when an appropriate and strategically crafted editorial calendar is in place for the marketing team to work with. It becomes fairly easy to keep track and be prepared for upcoming content. The team is clearly able to see the number of published content for a given period. And any lack of strategy or effort gets reflected instantly and this is when it can be addressed right in time, without missing any deadlines.

While all of that is a collective team effort, a calendar also helps keep every team member accountable for the tasks they are designated with. Based on what others are doing to keep the content and marketing vehicle moving, everyone can prioritize tasks and manage their time more effectively, without having to hastily create content that might not be high in quality.

Moving on, content marketers cannot deny the fact that content redundancy is a thing. While an editorial calendar cannot completely eliminate this, it can help your team make adjustments ahead of time.

So, what does it take to create that perfect editorial calendar that works wonders and boosts conversions? Let’s find out in this guide below.

Contents of a successful Editorial Calendar

Your marketing calendar can be in any of these three formats: a spreadsheet, an application, or a printed calendar.

While freedom of choice can be well exercised in assessing the format of your editorial calendar, it is what’s inside that really matters. Keeping it elaborate is highly recommended so that any other team member is always able to comprehend it.

Advanced guide to creating an editorial calendar: Categorizing an editorial calendar

The designs and contents of the calendar should sit well and align with all the roles associated with the responsibilities of creating content. We are talking – Content Writers, Bloggers, Content Managers, Social Media Content Manager, Editor, Assistant Editor, and the likes. While they have individual roles to serve, a well-crafted editorial calendar will act as a common reference for them to plan and merge their tasks, track deadlines, and churn high-quality content. Based on your strategy, the editorial calendar can carry a variety of details. Here’s an ideal listicle:

  • Type of Content
  • The title
  • Date of publication
  • Time of publication
  • Title, headline, or content topic
  • Author of content
  • Status of content completion
  • Content completion deadline
  • Feedback/Revision
  • Publish URL/Platform
  • Audience engagement metrics

The listicle is not hard-bound. Based on the needs of your content mix and what your brand is wanting to achieve with the calendar, the major fields can keep changing. And as and when the brand grows, the calendar can either get more complex or even simpler.

How to create a super-effective Editorial Calendar

Step 1: Jot down your priorities

You can start jotting down all the topics that you would want to cover in a listicle format. If you have already written a lot of content, then make sure to check out the subjects that you are yet to cover.

If you used to write generalized content previously, then try to write something that can address the specific concern of your audience. For example, if you own a website of mobile phones, then you can attempt to compose a buying guide on them. Remember, your goal is to help those people who are struggling to find a perfect device that suits their budget.

In addition to it, you would also need to determine your specific blog goals. Once you have found it, then you can put together different marketing targets, such as –

  • Getting more web traffic to your blog site
  • Enhancing the infrastructure of your blog’s on-site and off-site SEO
  • Boosting the reach and awareness of your blog
  • Generating more conversations and leads for improving your clientele list
  • Building a base of loyalty among your target customer and audience

Step 2: Decide upon your publication channels

Your editorial calendar is a reflection of planning. There are several channels available out there for publishing your work and each of them suits different types of writing. Make sure you assess them appropriately for publishing your posts, ebooks, White papers, infographics, videos, podcasts, newsletters, or social media

Step 3: Determine the frequency of your posts

Now, you will need to determine the number of posts that you are willing to upload at a regular interval. Just make sure to keep your momentum intact. A streamlined publishing schedule can help boost conversion because while the audience gets high-quality content to engage with, they can also rely on the brand to keep coming up with similar content to keep things moving. When they know when to expect your posts, they keep checking your space at regular intervals, helping strengthen their trust in your brand.

Step 4: Create a proper spreadsheet

Whether you are planning for business or trying to market your content, a spreadsheet can help you in several ways. With it, you can keep track of a lot of crucial things. For an editorial calendar, here’s what you can put down on the spreadsheet:

  • Date of publication
  • Choice of SEO optimized keywords
  • The name of the author
  • Description of the content
  • Title of the write-up
  • Status (complete, draft, hold, or published)
  • A proper list of CTAs
  • Your marketing goals
  • Channels of publication

Make sure to create the spreadsheet on your Google Drive to collaborate with your team members. Also, if you are thinking about creating something a bit sophisticated, then you can try out WordPress’ Editorial Calendar plugin for your WordPress blog as well. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar, and manage your entire blog. Here’s what else you can do:

  1. See all of your posts and when they’ll be posted.
  2. Drag and drop to change your post dates.
  3. Manage your drafts with the new drafts drawer.
  4. Quickly edit post titles, contents, and times.
  5. Publish posts or manage drafts.
  6. Easily see the status of your posts.
  7. Manage posts from multiple authors.

Step 5: Fill It up

As of now, you have only created the editorial calendar. So, to make it fully functional, you will need to fill it up. While writing for different spaces, try to come up with as many ideas as possible. But, make sure to be a little bit realistic as well. Moreover, if you are trying to help out people through your content, then make sure to focus more on the takeaway proposition of your blogs. In a guide-stylized write-up, you will need to add as many tips as possible.

Step 6: Strategize your workflow

The last step in this aspect for you would be strategizing your workflow. Collaborate and discuss with your team members to achieve all the following aspects:

  • Your marketing goals
  • A proper editorial guide (for helping the team produce niche content)
  • A thorough suggestion-based list on how to operate through the editorial calendar
  • The name of your team members and their responsibilities
  • Feedback, if any

The right content mix to successfully engage your audience

Yet another reason to implement the usage of editorial calendars across your content and marketing team is that they help you achieve a balance of the right mix; a mix that is going to successfully engage your audience and serve them everything but in the right ratios.

Let us put this in simpler words.

For example, your brand is publishing either a lot of blog posts or a lot of video content, without balancing the mix. Too much of any content type and under-utilization of other types can seriously harm your content strategy and you might miss out on an entire segment of your audience. This is where the visual nature of an editorial calendar can help your brand strike the right balance of published content formats.

Advanced Editorial Calendar tips for marketers

While editorial calendars are not entirely new to the marketing space, many experienced marketers still miss out on fronts that can help them ace their marketing mix for absolute success. Here are the most common ones:

  • Reviewing the editorial calendar and making changes to it at regular intervals is highly recommended. This is important because the marketing strategy can keep evolving and that needs to be reflected in the planning calendar as well. This can lead to changes in your publishing schedule and also the topics you choose to explore.
  • It is absolutely necessary to determine if your current publishing schedule is increasing your reader engagement. Any drop in the number of visitors needs to be looked into and fixed with additional efforts and changes in the publishing schedule.
  • Do not shy away from investing in project management tools like Trello to help you create your calendar. The tool offers ready-made templates that can fit your strategy like a glove. It lets you move tiles on a board to mark the start-to-finish for each project. However, if you are using Trello, make sure you are making the most out of them.

We absolutely love how editorial calendars are such a loop activity to work with. The trajectory of published pieces does not only easily help the team determine if the content was done properly but also lets them know if follow-up content would be required. This is where new content ideas can also shape up. Hence, the workflow and thought of the organizational chain can be easily established with the right editorial calendar in place. Remember, it is always about publishing the next best piece of content for your audience to engage with. So, keep working with your editorial calendar to make the most out of it.

Good luck with your editorial planning!

The post Advanced guide to creating an editorial calendar that boosts conversions appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Trump circumvents Twitter ban to decry ‘unprecedented assault on free speech’

January 14, 2021 No Comments

Following a comprehensive ban from Twitter and a number of other online services following last week’s assault on the Capitol by his followers, President Trump managed to put out a tweet in the form of a video address touching on the “calamity at the Capitol”… and, of course, his deplatforming.

In the video, Trump instructs his followers to shun violence, calling it un-American. “No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence,” he said, days after calling rioters “great patriots” and telling them “we love you, you’re very special” as they despoiled the House and Senate.

He pivoted after a few minutes to the topic that, after his historic second impeachment, is almost certainly foremost on his mind: being banned from his chief instrument of governance, Twitter.

“I also want to say a few words about the unprecedented assault on free speech we have seen in recent days,” he said, although the bans and other actions are all due to documented breaches of the platforms’ rules. “The efforts to censor, cancel and blacklist our fellow citizens are wrong, and they are dangerous. What is needed now is for us to listen to one another, not to silence one another.”

After having his @realdonaldtrump handle suspended by Twitter, Trump attempted to sockpuppet a few other prominent accounts of allies, but was swiftly shut down. What everyone assumed must be plans to join Parler were scuttled along with the social network itself, which has warned it may be permanently taken offline after Amazon and other internet infrastructure companies refused to host it.

In case you’re wondering how Trump was able to slip this one past Twitter’s pretty decisive ban to begin with, we were curious too.

Twitter tells TechCrunch:

This Tweet is not in violation of the Twitter Rules. As we previously made clear, other official administration accounts, including @WhiteHouse, are permitted to Tweet as long as they do not demonstrably engage in ban evasion or share content that otherwise violates the Twitter Rules.

In other words, while Trump the person was banned, Trump the head of the Executive branch may still have some right, in the remaining week he holds the office, to utilize Twitter as a way of communicating matters of importance to the American people.

This gives a somewhat unfortunate impression of a power move, as Twitter has put itself in the position of determining what is a worthwhile transmission and what is a rabble-rousing incitement to violence. I’ve asked the company to clarify how it is determined whether what Trump does on this account is considered ban evasion.

Meanwhile, almost simultaneous with Trump’s surprise tweet, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey unloaded 13 tweets’ worth of thoughts about the situation:

I believe this was the right decision for Twitter. We faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety. Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all.

That said, having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications. While there are clear and obvious exceptions, I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation. And a time for us to reflect on our operations and the environment around us.

Jack neither reaches any real conclusions nor illuminates any new plans, but it’s clear he is thinking real hard about this. As he notes, however, it’ll take a lot of work to establish the “one humanity working together” he envisions as a sort of stretch goal for Twitter and the internet in general.

 


Social – TechCrunch


Tokyo-based SODA, which runs Japan’s largest sneaker resell platform, lands $22 million led by SoftBank Ventures Asia

January 14, 2021 No Comments

Tokyo-based SODA, which runs sneaker reselling platform SNKRDUNK, has raised a $ 22 million Series B led by SoftBank Ventures Asia. Investors also included basepartners, Colopl Next, THE GUILD and other strategic partners. Part of the funding will be used to expand into other Asian countries. Most of SNKRDUNK’s transactions are within Japan now, but it plans to become a cross-border marketplace.

Along with SODA’s $ 3 million Series A last year, this brings the startup’s total funding to $ 25 million.

While the COVID-19 pandemic was initially expected to put a damper on the sneaker resell market, C2C marketplaces have actually seen their business increase. For example, StockX, one of the biggest sneaker resell platforms in the world (which hit a valuation of $ 2.8 billion after its recent Series E), said May and June 2020 were its biggest months for sales ever.

SNKRDUNK’s sales also grew last year, and in December 2020, it recorded a 3,000% year-over-year increase in monthly gross merchandise value. Chief executive officer Yuta Uchiyama told TechCrunch this was because demand for sneakers remained high, while more people also started buying things online.

A lifestyle image of two men promoting SNKRDUNK, Japan's largest sneaker reselling platform

A promotional image from SNKRDUNK, Japan’s largest sneaker reselling platform

Launched in 2018, SNKRDUNK now has 2.5 million monthly users, which it says makes it the largest C2C sneaker marketplace in Japan. The Series B will allow it to speed up the pace of its international expansion, add more categories and expand its authentication facilities.

Like StockX and GOAT, SNKRDUNK’s user fees cover authentication holds before sneakers are sent to buyers. The company partners with FAKE BUSTERS, an authentication service based in Japan, to check sneakers before they are sent to buyers.

In addition to its marketplace, SNKRDUNK also runs a sneaker news site and an online community.

SODA plans to work with other companies in SoftBank Venture Asia’s portfolio that develop AI-based tech to help automate its operations, including logistics, payment, customer service and counterfeit inspection.


Startups – TechCrunch


Google Ads Remarketing Step-By-Step

January 14, 2021 No Comments

In this guide, we delve into key topics and give best practices based on experience and Google recommendations.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


How to use XPath expressions to enhance your SEO and content strategy

January 13, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • As Google increasingly favors sites with content that exudes expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T), it is imperative that SEOs and marketers produce content that is not just well written, but that also demonstrates expertise.
  • How do you understand what topics and concerns matter most to your customer base?
  • Can you use Q&As to inform content strategies?
  •  XPath notations can be your treasure trove.
  • Catalyst’s Organic Search Manager, Brad McCourt shares a detailed guide on using XPath notations and your favorite crawler to quickly obtain the Q&As in a straightforward and digestible format.

As Google increasingly favors sites with content that exudes expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T), it is imperative that SEOs and marketers produce content that is not just well written, but that also demonstrates expertise. One way to demonstrate expertise on a subject or product is to answer common customer questions directly in your content.

But, how do you identify what those questions are? How do you understand what topics and concerns matter most?   

The good news is that they are hiding in plain sight. Chances are, your consumers have been shouting at the top of their keyboards in the Q&A sections of sites like Amazon.

XPath and how to find customer questions and preferences

These sections are a treasure trove of (mostly) serious questions that real customers have about the products you are selling.

How do you use these Q&As to inform content strategies? XPath notation is your answer.

You can use XPath notations and your favorite crawler to quickly obtain the Q&As in a straightforward and digestible format. XPath spares you from clicking through endless screens of questions by automating the collection of important insights for your content strategy.

What is XPath?

XML Path (XPath) is a query language developed by W3 to navigate XML documents and select specified nodes of data.

The notation XPath uses is called “expressions”. Using these expressions, you can effectively pull any data that you need from a website as long as there is a consistent structure between webpages.

This means you can use this language to pull any publicly available data in the source code, including questions from a selection of Amazon Q&A pages.

This article is not meant to be a comprehensive tutorial on XPath. For that, there are plenty of resources from W3. However, XPath is easy enough to learn with only knowing the structure of XML and HTML documents. This is what makes it such a powerful tool for SEOs regardless of coding prowess.

Let’s walk through an example to show you how…

Using XPath to pull customer questions from Amazon

Pre-req: Pick your web crawler

While most of the big names in web crawling – Botify, DeepCrawl, OnCrawl – all offer the ability to extract data from the source code, I will be using ScreamingFrog in the example below.

ScreamingFrog is by far the most cost-effective option, allowing you to crawl up to 500 URLs without buying a license. For larger projects you can buy a license. This will allow you to crawl as many URLs as your RAM can handle.

Step one: Collect the URLs to crawl

For our example, let’s pretend we’re doing research on the topics we should include in our product pages and listings for microspikes. For those unaware, microspikes are an accessory for your boots or shoes. They give you extra grip in wintry conditions, so they are particularly popular among cold-weather hikers and runners.

Example for finding details using Amazon

Source: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=microspikes

Here we have a list of 13 questions and answer pages for the top microspike pages on Amazon.com. Unfortunately, there is some manual work required to create the list.

List of questions - XPath and creating content

The easiest way is to search for the topic (that is, microspikes) and pull links to the top products listed. If you have the product’s ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) handy, you can also generate the URLs using the above format, but switching out the ASIN.

Step two: Determine the XPath

From here, we need to determine the XPath.

In order to figure out the proper XPath notation to use to pull in the desired text, we have two main options:

  1.       View the Source-CodeDetermine the XPath
  2.       View the rendered source code and copy the XPath directly from Chrome’s Inspect Element tool

Copy XPath

You’ll find that the expression needed to locate all questions in an Amazon Q&A page is:

//span[@class=”a-declarative”]

Here is XPath notation broken down:

  •       // is used to locate all instances of the following expression.
  • Span is the specific tag we’re trying to locate. //span will locate every single <span> tag in the source code. There are over 300 of these, so we’ll need to be more specific.
  • @class specifies that //span[@class] will ensure all <span> tags with an assigned class attribute will be located.
  • @class=”a-declarative” dictates that //span[@class=”a-declarative”] only locates <span> tags where the class attribute is set to “a-declarative” – that is, <span class=”a-declarative”>

There is an extra step in order to return the inner text of the specified tag that is located, but ScreamingFrog does the heavy lifting for us.

It’s important to note that this will only work for Amazon Question and Answer pages. If you wanted to pull questions from, say, Quora, TripAdvisor, or any other site, the expression would have to be adjusted to locate the specific entity you desire to collect on a crawl.

Step three: Configure your crawler

Once you have this all set, you can then go into ScreamingFrog.

Configuration -> Custom -> Extraction

Configure your crawler

This will then take you to the Custom Extraction screen.

Custom extraction screen

This is where you can:

  • Give the extraction a name to make it easier to find after the crawl, especially if you’re extracting more than one entity. ScreamingFrog allows you to extract multiple entities during a single crawl.
  • You can then choose the extraction method. In this article, it is all about XPath, but you also have the option of extracting data via CSSPath and REGEX notation as well.
  • Place the desired XPath expression in the “Enter XPath” field. ScreamingFrog will even check your syntax for you, providing a green checkmark if everything checks out.
  • You then have the option to select what you want extracted, be it the full HTML element or the HTML found within the located tag. For our example, we want to extract the text in between any <span> tags with a class attribute set to “a-declarative” so we select “extract text.”

We can then click OK.

Step four: Crawl the desired URLs

Now it’s time to crawl our list of Amazon Q&A pages for microspikes.

First, we’ll need to switch the Mode in ScreamingFrog from “Spider” to “List.”

Then, we can either add our set of URLs manually or upload them from an Excel or other supported format.

After we confirm the list, ScreamingFrog will crawl each URL we provided, extracting the text between all <span> tags containing the class attribute set to “a-declarative.”

In order to see the data collected, you just need to select “Custom Extraction” in ScreamingFrog.

Run the desired URLs

At first glance, the output might not look that exciting.

However, this is only because a lot of unneeded space is included with the data, so you might see some columns that appear blank if they are not expanded to fully display the contents.

Once you copy and paste the data into Excel or your spreadsheet program of choice, you can finally see the data that has been extracted. After some clean-up, you get the final result:

Final list of questions created using XPath

The result is 118 questions that real customers have asked about microspikes in an easily accessible format. With this data at your fingertips, you’re now ready to incorporate this research into your content strategy.

Content strategies

Before diving into content strategies, a quick word to the wise: you can’t just crawl, scrape and publish content from another site, even if it is publicly accessible.

First, that would be plagiarism and expect to be hit with an DMCA notice. Second, you’re not fooling Google. Google knows the original source of the content, and it is extremely unlikely your content is going to rank well – defeating the purpose of this entire strategy.

Instead, this data can be used to inform your strategy and help you produce high quality, unique content that users are searching for.

Now, how do you get started with your analysis?

I recommend first categorizing the questions. For our example there were many questions about:

  • Sizing: What size microspikes are needed for specific shoe/boot sizes?
  • Proper Use – Whether or not microspikes could be used in stores, on slippery roofs, while fishing, mowing lawns, or for walking on plaster?
  • Features: Are they adjustable, type of material, do they come with a carrying case?
  • Concerns: Are they comfortable, do they damage your footwear, do they damage the type of flooring/ground you’re on, durability?

This is an amazing insight into the potential concerns customers might have before purchasing microspikes.

From here, you can use this information to:

1. Enhance existing content on your product and category pages

Incorporate the topics into the product or category descriptions, answering questions shoppers might have pre-emptively.

For our example, we might want to make it abundantly clear how sizing works – including a sizing chart and specifically mentioning types of footwear the product may or may not be compatible with.

2. Build out a short on-page FAQ section featuring original content, answering commonly asked questions

Make sure to implement FAQPage Schema.org markup for a better chance to appear for listings like People Also Ask sections, which are increasingly taking up real estate in the search results.

For our example, we can answer commonly asked questions about comfort, damage to footwear, durability, and adjustability. We could also address if the product comes with a carrying case and how to best store the product for travel.

3. Produce a product guide, incorporating answers to popular questions surrounding a product or category

Another strategy is to produce an extensive one-stop product guide showcasing specific use cases, sizing, limitations, and features. For our example, we could create specific content for each use case like hiking, running in icy conditions, and more.

Even better, incorporate videos, images, charts, and featured products with a clear path to purchase.

Using this approach your end product will be content that shows expertise, the authority on a subject, and most importantly, addresses customer concerns and questions before they even think to ask. This will help prevent your customers from having to do additional research or contact customer service. Thanks to your informative and helpful content, they will be more ready to make a purchase.

Furthermore, this approach also has the potential to lower product return rates. Informed customers are less likely to purchase the wrong product based upon assumed or incomplete knowledge.

Conclusion

Amazon is just the tip of the iceberg here. You can realistically apply this strategy to any site that has publicly accessible data to extract, be that questions from Quora about a product category, Trip Advisor reviews about hotels, music venues, and attractions, or even discussions on Reddit.

The more informed you are about what your customers are expecting when visiting your site, the better you can serve those expectations, motivate purchases, decrease bounces, and improve organic search performance.

Brad McCourt is an Organic Search Manager at Catalyst’s Boston office. 

The post How to use XPath expressions to enhance your SEO and content strategy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Slim.ai announces $6.6M seed to build container DevOps platform

January 12, 2021 No Comments

We are more than seven years into the notion of modern containerization, and it still requires a complex set of tools and a high level of knowledge on how containers work. The DockerSlim open source project developed several years ago from a desire to remove some of that complexity for developers.

Slim.ai, a new startup that wants to build a commercial product on top of the open source project, announced a $ 6.6 million seed round today from Boldstart Ventures, Decibel Partners, FXP Ventures and TechAviv Founder Partners.

Company co-founder and CEO John Amaral says he and fellow co-founder and CTO Kyle Quest have worked together for years, but it was Quest who started and nurtured DockerSlim. “We started coming together around a project that Kyle built called DockerSlim. He’s the primary author, inventor and up until we started doing this company, the sole proprietor of that of that community,” Amaral explained.

At the time Quest built DockerSlim in 2015, he was working with Docker containers and he wanted a way to automate some of the lower level tasks involved in dealing with them. “I wanted to solve my own pain points and problems that I had to deal with, and my team had to deal with dealing with containers. Containers were an exciting new technology, but there was a lot of domain knowledge you needed to build production-grade applications and not everybody had that kind of domain expertise on the team, which is pretty common in almost every team,” he said.

He originally built the tool to optimize container images, but he began looking at other aspects of the DevOps lifecycle including the author, build, deploy and run phases. He found as he looked at that, he saw the possibility of building a commercial company on top of the open source project.

Quinn says that while the open source project is a starting point, he and Amaral see a lot of areas to expand. “You need to integrate it into your developer workflow and then you have different systems you deal with, different container registries, different cloud environments and all of that. […] You need a solution that can address those needs and doing that through an open source tool is challenging, and that’s where there’s a lot of opportunity to provide premium value and have a commercial product offering,” Quinn explained.

Ed Sim, founder and general partner at Boldstart Ventures, one of the seed investors sees a company bringing innovation to an area of technology where it has been lacking, while putting some more control in the hands of developers. “Slim can shift that all left and give developers the power through the Slim tools to answer all those questions, and then, boom, they can develop containers, push them into production and then DevOps can do their thing,” he said.

They are just 15 people right now including the founders, but Amaral says building a diverse and inclusive company is important to him, and that’s why one of his early hires was head of culture. “One of the first two or three people we brought into the company was our head of culture. We actually have that role in our company now, and she is a rock star and a highly competent and focused person on building a great culture. Culture and diversity to me are two sides of the same coin,” he said.

The company is still in the very early stages of developing that product. In the meantime, they continue to nurture the open source project and to build a community around that. They hope to use that as a springboard to build interest in the commercial product, which should be available some time later this year.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Review Ads on Social for eCommerce Brands [Case Study]

January 12, 2021 No Comments

One paid social expert tested product review imagery in her Facebook Ads. The results were promising – check out her case study to learn how she ran the test.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Making the argument for nofollow links in SEO

January 12, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The debate still continues in the SEO community on the variation of value from backlinks.
  • Google has shifted their position on these links.
  • What do we get for our efforts?
  • Are nofollow links worth the pain?

Are nofollow links a waste of time?

SEO practitioners have for years been told that nofollow links have zero value. It has become a mantra that has been repeated to the point where it has become a vulgar term to us.

Is this a healthy approach to link building though? Should opportunities for these diminished backlinks be ignored moving forward? Here I’d like to make the case for these lowly search engine signals.

What is a dofollow and a nofollow link?

I will keep this short. There are no dofollow links. All links start out as follows by default for search engines. Google came out many years ago with a new attribute called a nofollow and asked website managers to add them to links in their comments section because unscrupulous spammers were causing havoc on their algorithms. It was an easy way for these black hat SEO types to build lots of links on multiple sites.

Over time, some websites added this attribute to other parts of their content, if not their entire website to dissuade marketers from trying to get links on their websites for SEO purposes only. As a result, many marketers lost a lot of interest in these sites for providing them quality content.

Google with all of its vagaries, updates their position

A little over a year ago, Google came out and told us they had updated the algorithm to consider some nofollow links as hints. The extent of what that means can be open to interpretation.

But it does tell us that Google is paying attention to them. This does not mean I am recommending open season and that your link building strategy should be entirely built on them. But there is definitely more value to them than most people realize.

Nofollow backlinks can still provide authority

The quality rater guidelines published by Google have put a lot of focus on Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T). Going through the verbiage you will find that they place authority on the authors of content being mentioned in news articles and publications. Even Wikipedia is specifically mentioned (which has nofollow links as policy on its entire website).

Forbes, Huffington Post, and Medium are great examples of websites that only provide nofollow links. But I imagine that would have little concern about these quality raters.

In ignoring these publications you could very well be missing out on one of the keys to increasing the authority of your website based upon the assumption that there is a lack of link juice.

Search console consistently provides these links in their reporting

As much data as is available in the Google Search Console, there is quite a bit more information we in the SEO community would like to see that is not readily given in this tool. And yet, Google has consistently provided many nofollow links mixed in with the regular backlinks in the reporting. Why do you think this is?

Google easily knows the difference between them and yet still provides them and has for years. Not only that – they also factor them into the top linking text (anchor text) section which is a big part of this puzzle.

A mixture of the two types has always been considered healthy for a backlink profile for your website. Where nofollows can have a strong impact is providing context. Being able to reinforce brand name and other keyword terms for your site and individual pages.

No one can expect to get exact keyword match anchor text from high authority websites on a regular basis. But mentions in forums, now comments and other places can provide context if not link strength. If you are trying to refine the keyword focus of your pages, this is a worthwhile endeavor.

More direct traffic

Qualified traffic of any kind is valuable. If your entire job is to increase the rankings of your website, then this point does not apply. But being an SEO usually means getting more organic traffic to your website. It would be hard to dispute that visitors from high traffic websites to yours’ based upon the intent of the link, would not count as such.

When visitors to those websites are reading their content on a particular subject and inevitably click a link to your website, that is a win in my book. It is kind of the whole point of your job.

Not to mention that someone who has been researching a topic and ran across your company name mentioned multiple times on industry-specific websites starts to solidify that brand recognition everyone is always talking about.

Summary of nofollow backlinks

For seasoned marketers, much of this is known and sometimes a helpful reminder is welcome. Those that are new to the industry often hear derision regarding the matter and shun these backlinks without having done their research or tested them on their own.

These hints for the search engines can bring a lot of value if utilized with restraint and consideration. Don’t be so willing to discount them out of hand.

Rob Delory is the Founder of QuickSilver Agency. He can be found on Twitter @rdelory.

The post Making the argument for nofollow links in SEO appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Five reasons why clients are leaving your agency

January 12, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • If you’re focusing solely on growth, you may not be seeing the huge impact that customer churn has on your agency.
  • Acquiring a new client costs 5X more than retaining an existing one.
  • Service Provider Pro uses their expertise of helping over a thousand agencies with their systems and processes to share five crucial reasons for why your clients are jumping ship.

There’s an age-old saying that acquiring a new client costs 5X more than retaining an existing one. If you’re focusing solely on growth, you may not be seeing the huge impact that customer churn has on your agency. Having helped over a thousand agencies with their systems and processes, we’ve seen this first hand. Here’s what you might want to keep an eye out for in case you see your clients jumping ship:

Content created in partnership with Service Provider Pro.

1. You’re reinventing the wheel with each client

Handling a project that involves other people’s time and work is not easy, and doing it with an unclear workflow, just hoping for the best each time, makes it that much harder. 

If your workflow is inefficient, some tasks might be eating up your workday, inching you closer to your deadlines and taking away the focus from where it should be: building your client relationships. 

For you, your team, and your clients to be on the same page, you need a set of repeatable processes that don’t vary greatly from client to client. 

That’s where productized services come in: simplifying access and workflow for everyone involved. Get acquainted with the main benefits here.

Productized services = selling services as products. And yes, productized services do work.

Clients like to sign up for a known service at an agreed-upon price. It’s clear for everyone what the deliverables are, what inputs are needed from their side, and what your team will do for them.

Productized services aren’t always results-based. In fact, most of the time they’re based around specific deliverables. In order to get these deliverables out to your clients in the smoothest (and fastest) way, it’s key that each decision-maker can locate the resources needed for the project’s goals, track its progress, and communicate it. Not only does this set a clear path and accountability for your team, but lets your clients know what to expect. There’s no place for doubt as to what is going on with their website.

2. You’re not demonstrating value effectively

And it’s not because it’s not there.

Your clients are investing in your services to see measurable results and a positive return on investment. If they don’t see ROI they’ll want to look for it someplace else. The results of your strategy may be there but if you fail to communicate them in an objective, meaningful way to your client, they might as well not exist.

A good way to help yourself with this is by creating consistent metrics that your clients can keep track of and look back on overtime. Data-driven dashboards are an easy way to put these metrics into focus without too much extra work on your end.

You really want to keep it clean and not overwhelm your reports and clients with too much data, keep it to the relevant metrics to your client’s goal. Loads of data that don’t necessarily resonate with the project can backfire and make it seem like you didn’t get what your client’s objective was, to begin with.

3. Your communication is not the best

Clients do business with people they trust. This sense of trust needs to be maintained, not just during the sales process, but throughout the project delivery as well.

If your clients cannot reach you or see the status or their project live, you’re leaving them to suspect the worst.

Vital information gets lost in messy email threads, scattered messaging across the team, and can get tricky to keep a neat channel of communication open.

Centralizing your communication and providing the means for your clients to access their project’s progress at any time can keep them in the loop and confident that you’re both moving in the same direction.

4. You make it easy to leave after the test run

Keeping your clients after their first project can be tricky. Some people are adamant that an SEO project is a one-time thing and they can work on their own after. If you want your clients to keep coming back to you, you have to ensure that not only are the results there but that getting them was a breeze.

If your payments and invoicing are in one place, your client communication in another, project management in another, and so on, not only does this make it hard to keep track of your progress to you and your team, but it’s a nuisance to your clients. 

With so many competitors out there, you should be using every tool in your arsenal to make the journey, from audit to implementation, a seamless process that will differentiate your agency.

5. You’re not clamping down on involuntary churn

You’ve taken all the steps to make sure your services are top-notch and keep your clients coming back and they stay with you until the unspoken enemy of your bottom line shows up: payment failure. 

Your client’s payment method fails and, since the ball is in their court, it’s easy to think that they should notice and correct it. But it doesn’t always happen. That’s leaving money on the table that most businesses can’t afford to pass up. You wouldn’t want to lose clients just because their card expired. 

Preventing this can be as easy as sending renewal reminders and following up when their payment fails. Do make sure to keep your emails inbox-friendly to avoid your notifications ending in the spam folder.

Ensure that updating information is as easy as possible for your clients. Your subscription recovery page shouldn’t be locked behind a login process or having your clients jump through hoops to the point where it’s easier to just ditch. 

If you can notify clients when their payment fails and give them a simple one-click link where they can update their billing info it’s gonna be a game-changer. Better yet, it should show right away whether the new payment method has failed or succeeded.

Keeping your clients happy doesn’t have to be hard

There are so many pieces to the puzzle that it definitely can seem daunting. Using all the tools in your arsenal, letting software pick up the slack for you, and giving your clients some self-service options can really be a game-changer for your client’s retention and their happiness. That’s what makes it all worth it, right?

The post Five reasons why clients are leaving your agency appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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PopSockets announces its MagSafe-compatible iPhone 12 accessories

January 12, 2021 No Comments

In October, TechCrunch broke the news that PopSockets was developing its own line of MagSafe-compatible products that will support the new wireless charging capabilities of the iPhone 12 devices. Today, at the (virtual) 2021 Consumer Electronics Show, the company formally introduced its upcoming products for the first time. The new line will include three MagSafe-compatible PopGrips, a wallet with an integrated grip and two mounts.

The first of these is the new PopGrip for MagSafe, which will magnetically attach to MagSafe-compatible cases for iPhone 12 devices.

The design of this PopGrip clears up some confusion over how a PopGrip (the round, poppable dongle that people normally think of when they think of “PopPockets”) will work with a MagSafe device. Instead of attaching just at the base of the grip itself, the grip is integrated into a larger base that attaches to the case.

Image Credits: PopSockets

Meanwhile, the grip has a swappable top so you can change the style of your PopGrip whenever you want without having to buy a whole new accessory.

This grip will also be compatible with PopSockets PopMount 2 phone mounts, including the new PopMount 2 for MagSafe, introduced today.

The PopMount 2 for MagSafe will launch as two solutions: PopMount for MagSafe Multi-Surface and PopMount for MagSafe Car Vent. As described by their name, both products will magnetically attach to iPhone 12 devices either at home or while on-the-go.

For those who use the new PopGrip for MagSafe grip, they’ll be able to leave the grip on, then let the mount’s magnets attach to the base.

Image Credits: PopMount Multi Surface for MagSafe

Also new is an updated PopWallet+ for MagSafe, which is a combination wallet and grip that lets users carry up to three cards and now attaches magnetically to MagSafe-compatible phone cases for iPhone 12 devices. The wallet has an elastic sock so you can extract your cards without having to remove the wallet from the back of the device, and it now includes a shield to protect credit cards from magnetic damage. The grip here is swappable, too.

Image Credits: PopSockets

Image Credits: PopWallet+ for MagSafe

There are also two versions of the PopGrip Slide becoming available. One, the PopGrip Slide Stretch will have expanding arms that attach mechanically to the sides of most phone cases, including iPhone 12 cases. You can slide this grip to the bottom of the phone to serve as a portrait stand or to attach MagSafe accessories, without having to remove the grip.

Image Credits: PopGrip Slide Stretch for MagSafe

The PopGrip Slide for iPhone 12 is basically the same thing, but designed to fit the Apple Silicone cases for iPhone 12 devices, more specifically.

Among the first of the new accessories to hit the market will be the PopGrip for MagSafe and PopWallet+ for MagSafe in spring 2021.

The PopGrip Slide Stretch will launch March 21 on PopSockets.com and in select Target locations ahead of a broader rollout. The PopGrip Slide will launch May 1 on PopSockets.com and in Apple Stores. And the PopMount for MagSafe line will launch in summer 2021.

The company also announced a few other non-MagSafe products, including the PopGrip Pocketable, which streamlines the grip when collapsed so the surface is flat; the PopGrip Antimicrobial, which has an embedded silver-based treatment for protection; and the PopSockets x SOG PopGrip Multi-Tool, made in collaboration with SOG Speciality Knives, which includes a PopGrip with a detachable multi-tool.

The company didn’t share an exact time frame for these products besides “early 2021.”

Gadgets – TechCrunch