Facebook says that one of its success stories in recent years involves a relatively small group of engineers. Originally it was just one engineer, Vastal Mehta, who serves as Facebook’s director of solutions engineering and now leads a team of more than 100 people that works with advertisers to build the technology and infrastructure needed to run more effective campaigns on Facebook. Read More
Social – TechCrunch
The complexity of an organic search campaign necessitates some technological assistance. There are plenty of tools on the market, but they vary in price, functionality, and effectiveness.
Once you have all the basics in place, which SEO tools should you invest in to take your strategy to the next level?
The SEO landscape is highly competitive, with every company battling for precious real estate at the top of page one. The points of differentiation between competitors fall into the following, intertwined categories: people and technology. Assuming you already have your SEO team or agency partner in place, you will need to enable them with the best technology on the market.
The Google-owned products (Keyword Planner, Search Console, Google Analytics) are essential to cover the basics, but an advanced SEO strategy usually requires some investment in third-party technology. That need has created a crowded market – one that can be difficult to navigate without guidance.
Moreover, there is overlap to contend with, as so many tools appear to do so many similar things.
In truth, every tool tends to excel in one or two areas. Many will promise to be an all-in-one solution, but the task is too gargantuan to be tackled convincingly. Instead, a combination of tools is required to cover all the bases.
Any large-scale SEO campaign will encompass the following areas:
At each juncture, we are met by a lengthy list of technology solutions that can reveal new insights, automate the drudgery, and tell us whether our strategy is working.
Marketers should prioritize these categories, as budgets are rarely limitless and many of the best SEO tools do require investment.
Previously, we have covered the best free SEO tools and the best tools for a mobile SEO strategy. In this article, we will review the best tools to invest in for each of the core areas of an advanced SEO strategy.
Research: Moz Pro
A Moz Pro licence provides access to an impressive suite of SEO tools. Customers can utilize a site crawl, a keyword tracker, and an on-page grader, among many others.
That gives Moz Pro mass appeal, but it is essential to take note of where it excels, and where it is surpassed by other solutions.
The Keyword Explorer tool is particularly valuable for research, going far beyond what Google’s Keyword Planner can offer. Moz’s keyword research tool provides a range of suggestions for keywords to target and groups these together by their degree of lexical similarity.
At a time when sophisticated SEO professionals have moved beyond keyword matching to a more nuanced targeting approach, this capability is indispensable.
Open Site Explorer (OSE) is a long-time member of the standard SEO toolbox and it retains its usefulness for competitor backlink analyses.
Proprietary Moz metrics like Domain Authority, Page Authority, and Spam Score add extra depth to OSE and, while it is not comprehensive enough to suffice as the only backlink checker in an SEO’s armoury, it forms a natural complement to the likes of Ahrefs and Majestic.
The Moz toolbar also made our list of the best Chrome extensions for SEO, providing access to all the Moz Pro features as you visit websites.
Cost: Ranges from $ 99/month for the basic package to $ 599/month for the premium offering.
Honorable mentions: Similarweb.
Technical SEO: Botify
Technical SEO is a complex field, characterized (perhaps even caricatured) by never-ending spreadsheets and impenetrable code.
The gap between technical SEO experts and business leaders has therefore always been significant. Tools like Screaming Frog, which are highly valuable but difficult to decipher for the novice, have not helped to bridge this gap.
And yet, the importance of technical SEO for performance means that its messages need to be communicated to non-technical audiences.
Botify manages to dive deep enough to the data to provide meaningful analysis, but also display this in a compelling manner that gets the message across.
Core to its effectiveness is the Botify Log Analyzer, which collects and analyzes data at the server level. This provides an accurate record of Googlebot’s visits to the site and highlights any crawling issues.
The significance of this data was highlighted just last week, with Google’s John Mueller suggesting log file analysis as the ideal resource for site owners that want to see if they have been switched over to the mobile-first index:
I think you would probably recognize it in the log files. If you look now, probably something like 80% of the crawling is with the Googlebot desktop and maybe 20% is with mobile with the smartphone Googlebot.
And probably that will shift over and that most of the crawling will be done with the smartphone Googlebot and less crawling with the desktop Googlebot.
So if you like really watch out for your log files probably you can notice that fairly obviously.
Another albatross around the neck of technical SEO has been that its improvements are hard to tie to performance. Aside from serious issues that are causing URLs to be left out of Google’s index altogether, for example, many technical recommendations can end up gathering dust while the more glamorous changes are put into effect.
Botify Keywords is a handy feature in this sense, as it pulls in Search Console rankings data that can be tied back to any technical changes made on the site. This brings an extra element of accountability to technical SEO, all of which is tracked in the user’s dashboard automatically.
Cost: Varies, depending on site.
Honorable mention: Deepcrawl.
Keyword tracking: BrightEdge
Modern-day keyword tracking is something of a thankless task. With the twin advances of personalization and localization, there is really no such thing as a ‘true’ ranking position for each keyword. Google’s rankings differ based on so many factors that they can no longer be considered a static resource, but we can’t simply ignore rankings.
As a result, SEOs will typically use a combination of tools, including Google’s Search Console, to get a handle on how well their site is performing.
BrightEdge is the choice of many large corporations for SEO performance tracking, due to its user-friendly interface, customizable reports, and analytics integrations. It also provides the ability to track rankings down to a specific metropolitan area, which proves invaluable for brands with a presence across a range of territories.
Though the platform has evolved to encompass these new products, at its core BrightEdge is still a reliable rank tracker that provides at-a-glance performance insights for stakeholders from the SEO specialist to the CMO.
Cost: Dependent on number of keywords, domains, and territories required.
Honorable mentions: STAT Search Analytics, SearchMetrics, SEMrush.
Backlink analysis: Ahrefs
When assessing a backlink analysis tool, there are some essential fields to consider.
Firstly, the size of the technology’s index of URLs should be assessed to discern how accurate its findings will be.
None will exactly match the scope of Google’s index, which of course is significantly larger than any SEO tool could muster. However, it is important to bear in mind that each tool crawls and creates its own index, so the results you see in your dashboard on each may be different.
Next, check to see how frequently the index is updated. Given the importance of links for SEO rankings, most practitioners will want to see the quantity and quality of backlinks directed to their site on at least a weekly basis.
Ahrefs’ index contains 3 trillion URLs and is updated daily, which gives it the edge over its competitors.
It provides a comprehensive overview of historical backlink performance and helps SEOs to pinpoint any issues that may be hampering performance. Ahrefs is also a great resource for competitor analysis and can be used to find new websites to target through outreach activities.
All in all, Ahrefs provides the best package for advanced backlink analysis.
Cost: From $ 99/month to $ 999/month.
Honorable mention: Majestic SEO.
Content marketing: Buzzsumo
Backlinks are a vital factor in how Google crawls the web and ranks websites, but social shares and mentions are the next stage of evolution for a content marketing strategy.
Essentially, a site with content that attracts a lot of relevant, authoritative links and large quantities of social media interactions may be looked upon favorably when it comes to ranking websites for a specific query.
That is easier said than done, of course.
Buzzsumo has become an important tool for SEOs precisely because it aids us in this difficult task. Marketers can enter a domain name or just a keyword to see which pieces of content are performing best in terms of backlinks and social media shares.
The intuitive interface allows for a lot of customization, so it is possible to hone in on particular social networks, dates, or topics.
This makes it a helpful resource for influencer research too, as it also identifies the individuals that have helped certain content assets to ‘go viral’.
Buzzsumo can’t write the content for you, but it does a great job of at least telling you what to write about. It also provides almost instantaneous feedback on how your content is performing, making it an infinitely valuable tool for an advanced SEO strategy.
Cost: $ 79/month to $ 499+/month.
In this new live webinar, Kristin Vick from Hanapin Marketing and Jeff Sauer from Jeffalytics discuss how marketers can ensure they have the budget they need to be effective with online advertising and get the right tools to make that argument.
Read more at PPCHero.com
Centralized user management
Administrators can now centrally manage users across all Google Analytics accounts linked to your organization. If you have many accounts, and need to add users across them, you’ll see huge time savings. For example, if you need to give a new teammate access to 25 accounts, you previously had to visit every account to get them setup. Now you can complete this task from one place.
You can also:
- View rich cross product and cross account details for your users
- Manage a user’s access across many Analytics accounts in one console
- See new details about how a user inherits their permissions
- Get clear in-product explanations of different access levels and privileges
If you’re just using Google Analytics, and don’t need to manage users across accounts, you’ll see many of these same improvements inside of Google Analytics. All of the navigation and documentation improvements are present in both places.
User Groups in Google Analytics
Organization administrators often need to manage access for hundreds of users. This process can be tedious, especially when dealing with multiple Analytics accounts. Now you can more easily manage large teams of users by creating a group, placing the appropriate people inside it, and granting the groups access to the appropriate Analytics accounts. You can even place a group inside a group if you need to manage a hierarchy of teams. To get started, you’ll need to create an organization. Check out this help center article for more information.
Combined with existing features like the ability to centrally audit and set policies for users, these new features bring enterprise grade controls to your organization. They also pave the way for future enhancements, such as bringing centralized user management and user groups to more products.
Posted by Matt Matyas, Product Manager Google Analytics
MioTech, a financial tech startup with offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai, has raised $ 7 million in Series A funding to develop artificial intelligence based software for investment managers. The round was led by Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Hong Kong business tycoon Li Ka-shing, with participation from returning investor Zhenfund. Read More
Startups – TechCrunch
Spiro aims to sell CRM software to businesses that have been avoiding traditional CRM products. CEO Adam Honig told me that he and his co-founders originally set out to build artificial intelligence products that could assist with CRM. But then they started hearing from companies that weren’t using any CRM at all. So the team ended up broadening its approach. Read More
Enterprise – TechCrunch
Brands with many distributor locations across the country use dealer locator tools to provide consumers information on how to find their products at local stores.
But more often than not, these dealer locator mappers are missing the necessary local SEO optimizations that make their distributor locations appear prominently on search results pages. These brands are missing out on a huge opportunity to drive more visitors to their website, generate more retail traffic at these physical locations, and capture additional revenue as a result.
Here are a few simple ways to optimize your dealer locator for local search, to capitalize on this opportunity and quit leaving local money on the table.
Create dealer pages with search-friendly navigation
Why do you need to worry about targeting individual dealer location when you’re a big brand?
- Local branding – Consumers prefer to patronize brands the old-fashioned way: by choosing local locations and stores they know and trust.
- Effective, geo-targeted content – In order for Google to index and deliver your content to your intended audience, you need to make it locally relevant.
- No penalties involved – If executed correctly, local SEO for companies with multiple store locations will help you avoid link networking penalties.
Create location landing pages for each of your dealer locations with an organized linking hierarchy based on city, region, or state. It’s best practice to have less than 100 links on a single page, but you’ll probably want to reduce the internal linking structure even more to improve your user experience on these location pages.
If you have more than 100 distributor locations, start out at the state level. The state will link to participating cities, which then provide links to each individual location within that city. Make sure that the links in your navigation structure are search engine crawler-friendly; the shorter, the better.
Example of See’s Candies Locator Breadcrumb Structure:
Give consumers meaty local info: NAP & map
For each of these location pages, provide relevant information about the dealer’s store or service location, including address, phone number and hours of operation. Make sure you include a map!
Make each store’s profile page as unique as possible. For example, you can mention nearby landmarks, which helps the search engines understand your relevance to the local area. Include photos of each location, if possible.
Optimize your dealer location page titles for people & crawlers
Draw from your search query data within Search Console to better understand how users search for your business, and use that insight to craft your dealer location page titles.
Use your brand name, the city, and business type within the title. For instance, “Dad’s Tools Hardware Store in San Diego, CA.”
Help Google associate your dealer locations in maps to your landing pages
Finally, using Google’s Business Location Bulk Upload tool, you can deliver your dealer locator information directly to Google Maps. This allows Google Maps to directly associate each of your locations to a unique landing page.
Use speciality pages for visibility across more relevant queries
How do you reach people who don’t already know your brand? Good local SEO takes advantage of unbranded keywords and demonstrates your relevance for queries related to certain products and services at the local level.
For example, imagine you’re a pet retailer trying to reach pet owners actively seeking out services and items tailored to their pet’s needs, but not specifically for your store. These people might be searching for “dog grooming,” or “pet vaccinations near me.”
Creating and optimizing speciality pages for services within each of your brand’s locations allows you to reach those potential customers while they’re actively looking for local services.
Just how important are speciality pages? A national pet retailer and service provider used hyperlocal speciality pages to promote their dog training, grooming, vaccinations and aquatics services. These pages drove an additional 1.4 million site visits and helped the retailer achieve a 42% lift in search volume year-over-year.
Optimizing all of your store locations can be time consuming, but has major benefits. Using a store location tool automates the process of creating these local listings to save you time, reduce errors, and help each location rank prominently when searchers are looking for businesses like yours.
It seemed like our PPC Hero audience really enjoyed Amanda’s competitor creep post so I thought maybe a little more creeping was in order. I’m going to focus, however, on the various tools on the market that you can use to see estimated metric performance, keyword and ad copy information on those competitors. Why is competitor […]
Read more at PPCHero.com
This morning at Google Marketing Next, we shared the next generation of AdWords, DoubleClick and Google Analytics tools, each of them shaped by your feedback and built to help you work as productively and efficiently as possible.
Below is a round-up!
The new AdWords experience will be available to all advertisers by the end of the year
The new AdWords experience marks the most powerful change we’ve made to how advertisers visualize and manage their campaigns in over 15 years. The redesign makes AdWords significantly easier to use to help you reach your unique marketing goals and get things done.
Earlier this year, we previewed a few of the new tools and features in the new AdWords experience. This includes the new Overview page, which automatically surfaces relevant insights about your performance so you can take action more quickly.
Here are some other new things to check out:
Since rolling out the new AdWords experience, we’ve seen some inspiring results. We see that pages load much faster — on average, 20% faster. Customers like iProspect North also reported that the new design and layout saves them 30% more time when completing everyday tasks.
Starting today, we’re rolling out the new experience to millions of additional AdWords accounts and it will be available to all advertisers by the end of the year. Get started by reviewing our Best Practice guide.
Better together: Google Optimize and Google Surveys 360 integrate with AdWords
Your marketing workflows should be seamless and integrated, from managing media to optimizing your site and collecting performance insights. This allows you to easily apply learnings from one step to another and take action faster. With new integrations for Google Optimize and Google Surveys 360 with AdWords, you’ll be able to test landing pages and gain insights about your ads more efficiently.
Available globally to all advertisers at no cost, Optimize helps marketers test and deliver custom site experiences to improve performance. With the Optimize and AdWords integration, you can quickly and easily create new versions of your landing pages and then apply them to any combination of AdWords campaigns, ad groups, and keywords – no coding or webmaster required. For example, on a summer beachwear campaign, test whether a landing page that features an image of beachgoers performs better than one that showcases your latest swimsuit styles. Optimize will figure out which variation works best for your business and help you get more value from your AdWords campaigns.
Surveys 360 makes it easy for anyone to create a survey, find a specific audience sample across the web, and generate results in just a few days. With the Surveys 360 and AdWords integration, you can easily target surveys to people in your remarketing audiences to help you understand the “why” behind how consumers react to your marketing. For example, ask customers what they thought was the most compelling part of your ad. Or, if you want to know what customers thought of the landing pages you tested on your summer beachwear campaign, quickly launch a survey and ask site visitors what stood out to them on the page.
Smarter planning in DoubleClick Bid Manager
The programmatic revolution has focused on combining data, machine learning and automation to drive better performance. However, few of these benefits have carried over to the world of media planning. To help save you time and improve performance, we’re bringing the power of machine learning to campaign planning with a new workflow in DoubleClick Bid Manager.
Bid Manager uses machine learning to analyze your past campaigns and understand what’s performed well for you before. With these insights, it will recommend the right inventory and targeting to reach your audience based on your unique marketing goals. The result is an optimized media plan tailored to your business, which you can then tweak, approve and activate with one click.
Unique Reach arrives for AdWords Display campaigns and DoubleClick
Once your ads are up and running, you want to know how many people are seeing them. Reach and frequency are hallmark metrics to measure the impact of display and video campaigns today. At the same time, you need to be thoughtful about how often you connect with a single user to avoid overloading them. 30% of people today use 5 or more devices1 – that means if you reach someone three times on each screen, you could be showing them fifteen ads!
We launched Unique Reach for YouTube in AdWords earlier this year and are soon expanding availability to Display campaigns in AdWords. We’re also bringing Unique Reach to DoubleClick for all your video and display ads, no matter where they run. Unique Reach helps you measure the number of unique users and average impressions-per-user you get from video and display ads. Metrics are de-duplicated across devices, campaigns, inventory and formats so you can see how many people you reached and how often you reach them.
We can’t wait to get these new tools into your hands to hear what you think and help you work faster and smarter. To get the full replay of new innovations at Google Marketing Next, watch the keynote here. Until next year!
Posted by Paul Muret, Vice President of Display, Video and Analytics
1. Google / TNS Connected Consumer Survey, US population 18+, n=1000, Q1 2016
Atlassian today announced the launch of Atlassian Stack, a new subscription service that bundles virtually all of the company’s self-hosted developer tools into a single offering. Starting at $ 186,875 per year for 1,000 licenses, this new bundle is meant to make the procurement process for enterprises easier and cheaper (despite what looks like an eye watering price at first). Instead… Read More
Enterprise – TechCrunch
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