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How to Find and Use Online Brand Ambassadors

trust-levels-in-company-spokespersonsBy Samuel Scott

Companies spend so much time on their internal marketing and PR efforts that they often forget to leverage external methods such as brand ambassadors.

And why is this important? The 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer shows that people have the most trust in academics, experts, and “people like themselves” when it comes to discussing a company and its actions. In other words, people trust sources of information that are from outside the business.

This is probably obvious. But what is not obvious is how businesses can take advantage of this fact in their marketing and public relations. With a little strategic research, the process to find and use online ambassadors can become a lot less complicated.

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An Introduction to PR Strategy for SEOs

My latest SEO essay is up at Moz:

As I’ve written elsewhere while using “The Avengers” as an example (Joss Whedon fans, unite!), “SEO” is actually just a slang term for a collection of best practices — it is doing web development well, content creation well, social media well, PR well, and so on. This is why successful SEO, and digital marketing in general, necessitates that companies “assemble” a holistic, integrated team with expertise in numerous disciplines. And that includes public relations.

Read the rest here!

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Why You Should Diversify Your Online Marketing

social-media-landscapeBy Samuel Scott

Following the days of door-to-door salesmen, most modern marketing practices today depend on third-party channels — or mediums, if you prefer — whose interests lie primarily with themselves. As a result, it is important to diversify your marketing so that your business is not dependent on the whims of others.

Newspapers, radio stations, and television channels have advertising strategies that aim to generate the maximum amount of revenue — the effects of the advertisements on the success of the advertisers is a secondary priority. The same is true in most online-marketing channels today. Social-media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn care only about themselves (especially after they go public). Google, of course, is notorious for regularly changing its search algorithm and AdWords platform.

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A Channel-Based Strategy for Website Conversions

inbound-marketing-funnelBy Samuel Scott

Traffic is so 1998. Keyword rankings? 2008. Whatever marketing or PR strategy a business uses, the success metric that matters the most today is website conversions – and that measure needs to be incorporated into all of a company’s outreach efforts.

What is a conversion? Simply put, it is a specific action that a given business wants website visitors to take. B2B companies with shorter sales cycles may want people to fill out a contact form; those with longer sales cycles may want individuals to subscribe to an e-mail newsletter or download a piece of content in exchange for providing their contact information. Mobile-app publishers want downloads. B2C businesses want sales.

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SEO Doesn’t Exist: The Future of Digital Strategy

seoBy Samuel Scott

In May 2013, marketing-software company SEOmoz rebranded itself as Moz and changed its offering from a purely technical website tool (SEOmoz Pro) to a set of holistic-marketing ones (Moz Analytics). The change symbolized an emerging, strategic trend that companies and marketing agencies now need to keep in mind.

Technical SEO is Only a Start

At the beginning, SEOmoz Pro merely crawled websites and identified technical website issues for marketers or webmasters to address:

initial crawl

SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer also allowed SEOs to research and analyze the backlinks that have been gained by a website and its competitors. Together, the two tools represented the early foundation of so-called “SEO strategy.”

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Google Plus Authorship: One Critical Thing You Need to Know

A new contributor essay of mine is up at Moz:

It stems from a January 9 post by Dr. Pete on the declining percentage of SERPs that show Google+ Authorship. (Please feel free to review the post for more background information.) In this comment on the post, I stated one problem that WordPress users probably overlook if they use Yoast’s WordPress SEO plug-in. Since my observation was well received by Mozzers there, I wanted to expand it into a post to draw more attention to a critical issue for the benefit of all online marketers.

Read the rest here.

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The Twelve Days of Google Christmas

Just published my first essay at Moz:

All of the articles on Moz’s blog are usually serious and always highly informative for our community, but for the holiday season, I was inspired by the site’s Google Algorithm Change History to contribute something a little more lighthearted as a year-end summary. So, here is The Twelve Days of Google Christmas, which reviews all of the “gifts” that Google has given we marketers and webmasters in the past year (or so) as far as the important changes to the search engine’s algorithm.

Read the rest here!

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A Content Strategy for Google In-Depth Articles

google-indepth-articlesBy Samuel Scott

Google recently updated its search-results algorithm to include more quality content from recognized brands under the label “In-Depth Articles.” As shown in the graphic to the left, many search results now display blocks of excerpts of essays on related topics. Do you want your website to be included? Here’s how.

First, a few strategic questions need to be answered:

  • Is it part of your marketing strategy to become known as a thought-leader on a topic?
  • Do you want to “get found” in Google by people searching for information on that topic?
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Don’t Lose Control of Your Brand

facebook-logoBy Samuel Scott

Facebook does whatever is best for Facebook.

In the end, the social network’s concern for your business is a secondary priority at best. Now that Facebook is a publicly-traded company, its primary goal is to maximize profits through whatever means possible.

And that now includes forcing brands to “pay to play.” As Cotton Delo notes in Ad Age:

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