Archive for May, 2011

12 Essential Facebook Stats [Data]

It’s no secret that Facebook has a massive and highly engaged audience—but just how big, how active, and how valuable for small businesses and B2B companies is a much-debated subject.

“Should my B2B company have a Facebook page?”

“My customers and prospects don’t use Facebook.”

“Our Facebook page only has a few hundred fans, so why bother?”

There are just a few of the questions and comments we frequently hear.

To help you make an informed decision about your company’s Facebook strategy, we’ve compiled the following 12 Essential Facebook Stats that cover all of these questions and more:

1. 93% of adult US Internet users are on Facebook. (source: BlogHer, April 2011)

2. One out of every eight minutes online is spent on Facebook. (source: ComScore, February 2011)

3. The average Facebook user spends more than 11 hours per month on Facebook. (sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2010 & Facebook Press Room, 2011)

4. Facebook is overtaking Google and Yahoo in total time spent online. (source: ComScore, August 2011)

5. Facebook has become the top choice for social sign-in. (source: Janrain, April 2011)

6. Facebook has become the preferred way to share content online, second only to email—for now. (source: Chadwick Martin Bailey, September 2010)

7. The average number of “likes” per post on a brand’s Facebook page is 54. The average number of comments per post is 9. (source: Visibli, April 2011)

8. More than half of B2B marketers agree that Facebook is an effective marketing tool. (source: Outsell, December 2009)

9. More than half of small businesses agree that Facebook is beneficial to their business. (source: Ad-ology, November 2010)

10. More than 1/3 of marketers say Facebook is “critical” or “important” to their business. (source: HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing Report 2011)

11. The number of marketers who say Facebook is critical or important to their business has increased 83% in two years. (source: HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing Report 2011)

12. 67% of B2C and 41% of B2B companies that use Facebook for marketing have acquired a customer through this channel. (source: HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing Report 2011)

Flip through the deck below to get a closer, more visual look at this data in chart format or download all of these slides (and many more!) here.

Free eBook: 2011 Facebook Marketing Guide

Free eBook: The Facebook Marketing Update

Connect with HubSpot:

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Head Smacking Tip #20: Don’t Ask Sites for Links. Find People and Connect.

Posted by randfish

Many of us trained in the ways of classical SEO are familiar with the link building process:

Step 1: Find relevant sites from which to get a link.

Step 2: Search for contact information (email or phone number).

Step 3: Get in touch and find a way to make the link happen (sell them on great content, do a trade in-kind, plant a seed and hope, etc.)

If you’ve ever done this (for the first 2 years of my SEO career, it’s practically all I did), you know how much it sucks. Conversion rates are low. Time/link is high. The ROI is there, but it’s a painful, boring, awkward slog.

I’ve got some good news. There’s a better way.

Try this instead:

Step 1: Find relevant human beings (bloggers, journalists, forum participants, members of online communities, active social networkers, people in media, PR, or simply the well-connected).

Step 2: Follow their contributions to the web world and engage (in blog comments, over Twitter, via LinkedIn, through Q+A sites and forums, or directly over email). Ask for nothing.

Step 3: Build something highly relevant and useful to them. If you’ve truly built that connection and gotten to "know them," even if it’s just virtually, you will know what they need/want/will appreciate.

Step 4: Let them know about it. This can be over Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email, in a blog comment, or whatever medium makes sense.

There’s huge advantages to this method, including:

  • More Scalable Link Building: Content plays can approach dozens of folks who may influence, write for or control multiple properties leading to a much higher ROI for each successful contact.
  • People Like People: People who answer webmaster@somesite.com don’t particularly like link requests.
  • Authenticity: Rather than simply begging for a link to help your SEO, you’re actually forming connections that can help with every form of marketing – greater brand awareness, attention from influencers, social sharing, etc.
  • Future Proof: No matter what signals engines evolve to measure or what forms of discovery become popular, your work carries value. If Facebook sharing takes over the web, it’s not a problem because that’s how people will share your links. If some new platform wins, you can rest assured that your content will make its way there.
  • Better Web Content: Since you’re producing material that fill a need, you’re helping to make the web a better place – there’s nothing more deserving of a link or rankings than that.

Admittedly, the hardest part is Step 1: "Finding the Right People." Allow Google to assist:

Profile Search for Travel Bloggers

Pictured above is a Google "profile" search. You can search Google’s public user profiles with search query strings like this http://www.google.com/search?q=travel+blogger&tbs=prfl:e or by appending &tbs=prfl:e onto any search URL.

It’s also easy to use tools like FollowerWonk and LinkedIn Search to supplement these results. Armed with these tools and this process, I’m bullish that any SEO with the passion to invest time and the freedom to build quality resources can earn great links, mentions and social metrics from real people across the web.

Good luck out there link builders. I’ll have my fingers crossed that this process can reduce friction and pain for people on both sides of the link equation. If you’ve got any additional recommendations, tools or methods to share, feel free to do so in the comments!

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Actionable Link Building Strategies

Posted by Paddy_Moogan

Today I wanted to talk about some actionable link building techniques that you can go away and start using straight away. I appreciate how difficult it can be to implement some of the link building techniques we talk about here, so I wanted to cover some which many of you should be able to use straight away.

The first two techniques involve some software called Screaming Frog. We love this in the Distilled office, its a great tool and the guys who own it are very open to suggestions for improvements. At first glance, you wouldn’t think you could use it as a link building tool. But there are a couple of creative ways that I think you can use it for link building.

If you are not familiar with Screaming Frog yet, Dr Pete did a comparison to Xenu a few months ago which gives you some insight into the features it has.

Use it to help you get a hook in your outreach

We all know the importance of having the right hook when you email someone asking for a link. One of the hooks commonly talked about is finding something that is broken on the site you are contacting. 

Run Screaming Frog over the site you’d like to get a link from and filter the results by 404 pages, then see where these pages are linked to internally. Then reference these in your outreach email. This will help distinguish your email from the other emails they get that look auto generated and spammy. The fact you mention something like a broken link shows you are a real person.

Use it to snipe competitors links

I love this one, its sneaky but meh, alls fair in love and link building.

Run Screaming Frog over your competitors and find 404 pages. Chances are that you’ll find a few. Now run these through a backlink checker such as Open Site Explorer and see if anyone is linking to these 404 pages. You have to hope for a bit of luck here, as there may be no one linking. But when you do find some, its not very difficult to drop an email to the site who are linking to the 404 page and let them know. At the same time you let them know about the amazing piece of similar content you have which isn’t broken.

If you are going to use this technique, I’d highly recommend you genuinely do have good content to replace the 404 page. Otherwise, you are going to look a bit silly asking the site owner to change the link to your unrelated, poor quality page.

Quick housekeeping note here.

If you are doing this, you should also be doing the same for your own site. You’ve got other ways of finding 404 errors, such as using Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics or your own server logs. Whichever way you choose, get into the habit of checking 404s and fixing them. Hopefully this means you’ll never get into the situation of having incoming links that go to 404 pages.

Revamp old content and data that got links

Sometimes content can be published that isn’t “evergreen”. Meaning that it is useful for a while but at some point goes out of date and isn’t relevant anymore. When this happens, its unlikely to be linked to very much.   Ideally, you should always be pushing out evergreen content but in reality, this is very hard to do.

So our goal here is to find old content on other sites that was good a couple of years ago but not likely to get links now. We then need to decide whether we feel we can redo that content, update it and publish it again. This works particularly well on any content that references a time specific dataset. For example, a comparison of the average alcohol consumption in each US state vs the crime rate for 2008. If this content did well and got lots of links, then updating it with a 2011 dataset may be just as successful.

To find this content, you can use search tools in Google to specify a date range from a couple of years ago:

Its then a case of sifting through the results which admittedly can take time. But you will get better at this as time goes on.

I should also mention that you should take some time to make sure that the website haven’t already updated the dataset and posted it elsewhere on their site, or that they don’t have previous datasets demonstrating a propensity to update it every year. Good example here is the SEOmoz Search Ranking Factors that are updated every two years. If you didn’t do your homework, you could easily think that this was only run in 2009, whereas its actually updated every two years.

Start doing weekly roundups of industry news

This is a very simple one and can be very effective as a consistent way of getting good quality links as well as social shares. The great thing about this is that it can be applied to most industries too. If you work in an industry where there isn’t lots going on all the time, you could do monthly roundups which can still work well.

The general idea is that you write a blog post that links out to a number of good quality news items or informational posts over the last week. You can then also tweet about them and get the attention of the site owner by including them in the tweet. This can work very well and isn’t seen as spammy at all. Just look at the paper.li links that we all see on Twitter, when we get tagged in one of these, you can’t help but go take a look at why you’ve been tagged.

You can also email key sites to let them know they’ve been featured in your weekly roundup, make it very informal and don’t ask for a link in return. Just treat it as a way to get some conversation going with the site owner, then it can lead to getting links back further down the line.

Remember that good quality sites will not link to you for no reason, you need to get their attention somehow and give them something. If you do this roundup, you are getting their attention and giving them a link which is exactly what you need to do.

You can see some examples of people that do this such as Wiep and Ontolo.

Hopefully these quick link building techniques can help you with your own sites, I’ve tried to write about techniques that most people can use. Please let me know how you get on in the comments!

 

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How to Become the Awesomest Marketer EVER

Want to become The Awesomest Marketer EVER? Here’s a simple 5-step formula to guarantee your success.

 

 

STEP 1: Stop Interrupting People!
Nobody likes being interrupted. That includes your customers, leads, prospects, neighbors, children, etc. We used to tolerate intrusive advertising. These days, we don’t have to. 

Which is probably why 91% of people have unsubscribed to an email they previously opted-in to, and why 86% of people skip TV ads, and at least 44% of direct mail goes straight into the recycling bin

Instead of interrupting the things in which people are interested, awesome marketers work on becoming the things in which people are interested. 

STEP 2. Be Where Your Audience Is.
Once upon a time, your audience could easily be found listening to the radio, watching TV, searching for your business in the yellow pages, attending a trade show, or sifting thoughtfully through a small stack of mail.

NO LONGER.

Today’s reality is both more fascinating and more challenging for many marketers, and it is this: your audience is online.

  • 78% of people use search engines to conduct product research. 
  • 57% of US Adult Internet users conducted a search today.
  • 93% of US Adult Internet users are on Facebook.
  • One out of every eight minutes online is spent on Facebook.

Get the idea?

Put another way, Google is your new business card, and Facebook is your new referral engine. If you are not AWESOME at using search engines and social networks to market your company/product/service, you are most definitely missing the proverbial boat.

STEP 3. Go inbound!
It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and outbound marketers are wearing steak-flavored underpants. 

Outbound marketing—or the practice of paying for “impressions”—might appear to be the easiest, fastest way to reach your audience, but what happens when you stop paying?

Nothing, that’s what.

Because outbound marketing does not create any reusable assets. It’s the single-serving, disposal snack-pack of marketing.

Inbound marketing, by contrast, requires much less cash (if any) upfront, but more effort and time. Your results may not be instant, but they’ll be lasting. 

Example:
In 2007, HubSpot had 10 beta customers, 5 employees, and generated roughly 60-90 leads per month. Today, we have 4,500 customers, 200 employees, and generate 40,000 leads per month. Much of that growth (and a large portion of those 40,000 leads) was produced by inbound marketing assets (like blog posts, ebooks, videos, presentations, podcasts, etc.) that were created four years ago by those first five employees. 

Collectively, HubSpot’s library of inbound marketing assets have amassed over 7,000,000 views. Our monthly web traffic is more than double that of better-known, more established companies that are many times our size. Between blog subscribers, email lists, and social media fans/followers, our reach is more like that of a media company than a marketing software company. 

All of this is true because we eat our own dogfood, and that awesome food happens to be called Inbound Marketing.

STEP 4. Build an awesome marketing team!
Awesome marketers build awesome marketing teams. They recognize that in today’s rapidly changing world, marketing experience matters less than digital chops, an analytical mindset, existing “reach,” and the ability to create remarkable content. At HubSpot, we refer to this short list of attributes as “DARC” (Digital, Analytical, Reach, Content), and we actively recruit, hire, and develop awesome marketers that possess these very qualities.

Read more about building an awesome marketing team here.

STEP 5: Simplify!
Remember the good old “K.I.S.S.” acronym? That’s right—”Keep It Simple, Silly.” The Awesomest Marketer Ever seeks to streamline and simplify her marketing tools and processes. Instead of using one product for analytics, another for social media, a third for SEO, a fourth for her website, a fifth for email, and three or four others for sales and CRM functions, she’s smart enough to seek out the ONE that pulls them all together.

Come to think of it, it’s quite likely that the Awesomest Marketer Ever is a HubSpot customer… or at the very least, is considering becoming one soon ;) .

Marketing Data: 100 AWESOME Marketing Stats, Charts, & Graphs

Marketing Data: 100 AWESOME Marketing Stats, Charts, & Graphs

HubSpot has compiled a brand new collection of 100 Awesome Marketing Stats, Charts & Graphs based on original research and data!

Download this awesome marketing data today!

Connect with HubSpot:

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4 Criteria to Screen for Modern Marketing Talent

With the economy starting to show signs of life, marketers may be getting a bit more flexibility and budget to hire full time or even contract marketing talent. Here at HubSpot, we’ve been doing a lot of that lately. We just hired two new marketers last week, and that means we’ve been getting a lot of resumes online, via referrals, and more. With a job market flooded with eager candidates, how does a marketing leader sort through the noise to find those marketing diamonds in the rough that might add serious impact to your team?describe the image

Pre-Screening Candidates for Inbound Marketing Success

Sure, we’ve written posts about the characteristics to look for in a candidate: Hiring in the DARC ages, which highlights the needs for Digital Natives, Analytical Chops, Reach, and Content Creation Skills. But before you even get in a room to ask questions about these traits, how can you go about narrowing that pile of 100 resumes to the 10 you’ll get on the phone with and the three you’ll bring in for an interview?

Most companies do some form of resume pre-screening followed by a phone screen before they invest any face-to-face time. We’ve come up with some specific criteria to screen for that we think helps stellar marketing talent rise to the top.

4 Criteria to Screen for at the Resume Stage

Resume Basics

There are certain things that go without saying: if there are typos, the resume is hard to comprehend, or doesn’t show any sort of logical work or training progression, let it go. If your candidate can’t even take the care to create quality content about the ‘product’ they know best, then it’ll probably be hard for them to do it for your product or service.

Career Focus

This element varies depending on how senior the role is as well as the candidate in question. Even in the case of a recent college grad, we look for evidence of an interest in marketing before they even threw their cap into the air. What internships has this candidate participated in? Have they shown interest and drive to act on their passion for marketing? Can they point to coursework that is relevant to the role they are seeking? If they are a liberal arts candidate whose summer job was lifeguarding, that’s not a strong indicator of interest, and they usually won’t pass our sniff test.

Digital Footprint

Modern marketers have to be digitally inclined, whether they are part of Gen Y or they’re seasoned professionals who have proven their mettle. If you want your candidate to take to inbound marketing, start by Google’ing them. How many of the top listings are truly about them? Do they have a LinkedIn profile? If yes, how complete is it, and have others written recommendations about them? Do they have a Twitter handle? Are they active with it? What about a blog?  

Google & Social Digital Footprint

Today’s ‘marketing portfolio’ can often be comprised of publicly available content created by your candidate. It’s always a great sign when one of our candidates is not only active socially, but has engaged in forums or blogs about the industry or marketing on a topic they are passionate about.

Quirky Talents

You can only learn so much from a resume and via search. But we’ve found that candidates who share or show an affinity for something other than just school or work often bring a really fresh perspective to the marketing world.  Examples might include:

  • Candidates with a communications or marketing degree who ALSO happen to code their own mini-mobile apps tend to have good analytical and logical thinking skills.
  • Seasoned marketers who also happen to be in a band or run a non-profit are exercising other parts of their brain and often bring creative ideas and people together.

While your new marketer might not use these skills or hobbies directly on the job, they are going to provide a valuable perspective and of course have that benefit of being very ‘real’ as people — what team doesn’t like that?

Tip: How to Screen 100 Resumes in 1 Hour

So maybe you like these criteria, and maybe you don’t. Fine. Make up your own, or modify these. Once you have them, screening 100 resumes is still a mammoth task.  Here’s what we did this spring.

A party. Well, ok, a resume screening pizza party.

Ten marketers, 4 pizzas, 1 hour.

We batched up the resumes and paired our marketers into teams. Each team received 20 resumes, and between them, were allowed to ‘put forward’ 2 for a phone screen. Using a combination of the criteria above plus talking it out between them, we were able to narrow the field in a very consistent fashion, super fast. Bonus: all the marketers in the room felt pretty bought in to the talent we might be bringing aboard!

Narrowed the Playing Field: Now What?

Your next step will be to decide what your company wants to learn during the phone call. Whatever these decisions are, be sure to be consistent in your questions so you get a good picture of how candidates might succeed, and you obtain enough information to make the right selection for a next step.

If you’re building a marketing team today, consider checking out our whole kit about using Agile in marketing and some of the tools to build a powerhouse marketing organization.

What are your key indicators of candidate excellence?

Free Kit: Building a Modern Marketing Team

Free Kit: Building a Modern Marketing Team

Connect with HubSpot:

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Competitive Link Analysis Tips – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by caseyhen

We all want to build up the reputation and authority of our websites and this week Rand discusses some competitive link analysis tips using Open Site Explorer. He talks about how to avoid some common pitfalls when trying to get similar links that your competitors have and give you a few good ideas on how you should be doing it. If you have any tips that you can share with the community on how you do competitive link analysis, please feel free to share those in the comments.

 

Video Transcription

Hi, everyone. Welcome to Whiteboard Friday. This week, we’re going to talk about competitive link analysis tips. The thing is that a lot of people, when they’re trying to build up their reputation and authority and the rankings of their website, one of the big things that they do is they look at who’s linking to my competitors and can I get some of those links. This is a great practice, but there are a lot of pitfalls and there are also a lot great areas of unexplored opportunity. People typically do a very simple thing, which is just to look at who’s ranking in the top 10, see who’s linking to them, and try to get links. There’s a little more depth.
 
A tool that a ton of people use is Open Site Explorer. It’s a tool that we here at SEOmoz use and tons of people like it. There are other opportunities. There are things like Majestic. There’s Link Diagnosis. There’s obviously Yahoo! Site Explorer, which is very popular, and a few others that are well known as well.
 
Open Site Explorer is pretty simple, has a nice, easy-to-use interface. You can see here, I basically search for a URL up at the top, and it shows me all the places that Open Site Explorer, that the Linkscape Index knows about that link to that particular page. There are some filters up here and some different tabs. Basically, I get a list that looks like this. Here’s the page. Here’s the anchor text that’s linking. Here’s the page authority and domain authority. If I’m on the linking domains, it will also show me the number of linking root domains. It gives me some title information and that kind of stuff. Great. I can get some prospects here.
 
I want to be careful about a few things when I’m looking through here. Number one, whose links are you looking at? One of the problems that we see a lot of the time is that the people who rank in the top 10, particularly in a short-term time frame, sometimes can be spammers or manipulative folks who have earned links that get them into the top 10 but only very briefly. By very briefly, I mean somewhere between 30 days and 3, even 6, months sometimes. If you’re examining sites and you’re looking at their links and you think to yourself, "Boy, these are really scummy sites. The site quality is low. I don’t know why anyone would organically want to link to this page," looking at their links may only help you in a really short-term scenario. You might find a ton of junky stuff, stuff you have to pay for, stuff that’s manipulative, stuff that requires you to reciprocally link back to them, or jump through all these hoops. You don’t necessarily want those.
 
What you do want are folks who are long lasting in the top 10. If I look at a list of top 10 folks and I see oh, wow, this is a domain that’s very well trusted and I’ve heard the name of the brand before, it’s a popular and good brand, then I’m really interested in who’s linking to this guy. If I see a three-hyphen domain.info, maybe I don’t need to investigate his links. Or maybe I want to look at them, but I don’t necessarily want to pursue them. I just want to be more careful about how I interpret those.
 
The other thing is that folks will be really simplistic about this. As opposed to just looking at the top 10 of who’s ranking here, I can go deeper into the results. I can go into the top 20 or 30. I can look at different keywords. I can look at keywords that are more broad. Let’s say I’m trying to rank for "used Toyota cars." I might look at used Toyotas. I might look at Toyota in general. Who’s ranking in the top 50 or 60 for a super competitive phrase like Toyota? Who are those big important sites? There might be a bunch of places that are linking to other listings that could link to me. Or the people who are in the results themselves could be link opportunities.
 
There’s also the issue that when you do that kind of expansion, you’ll just find that many more places that have diversity of links. Earning those can give you a step up on the competition, because when they look at your links, they’re going to go, "Wow. Where did they get all those? How did they find all those? It’s amazing."
 
The other thing I want you to pay attention to is, are these the links that matter? The same scrutiny that you give the websites in the top 10, I think we should all be giving that same scrutiny to the links that point in here. A lot of the time, there will be links that are fairly manipulative and low quality and temporary. They will appear in here because Open Site Explorer and Linkscape doesn’t have anything like the sophistication of Google’s webspam algorithm. Google webspam has a whole team working in a big building down in Mountain View. They’re some of the best-paid and most highly talented scientists in the world. They’re working on this problem of solving spam. Open Site Explorer has a few simplistic things. PA and DA, page authority and domain authority, use symmetrics to calculate how important we think it is. We get fooled all the time by spammers. The links that you see in here might not necessarily be the ones that count. You have got to use good judgment.
 
There are two great ways to do this. Number one is does it rank? What I want you to do is look at this page itself, the linking page. Go to that page. Figure out the keywords that it’s trying to target in the title or grab a snippet of 7 to 10 words in a sentence there. Put them in quotes and put it into Google. Does that page rank? If it’s not ranking in Google, I’d be very suspicious about how it’s doing. Number two, who does it link to? If it’s linking to reputable sources and really good places, that’s a very good sign. If it links to places that are very suspect and a lot of those places aren’t ranking very well for their keywords, I’m usually a little more concerned. Those two things will really help you see whether this is the right link or not.
 
Do pay close attention to another thing, the page and domain level metrics. If you see something that’s like wow, this is a very low page authority but high domain authority, that might be a really good link opportunity. In fact, that domain might be a great link opportunity. I worry when I see folks who are like, "Low page authority, I’m not interested." I wouldn’t go that route. If domain authority is high, that means it’s a big, important, powerful domain. I would much rather, in my SEO, have a link from a powerful, important domain than from a powerful page but on an unimportant domain. If it’s the homepage of Mikes-House-of-Viagra.info, I totally don’t care. I don’t care that it’s homepage. I don’t care that he has a page rank of four or five on his homepage. I’m not interested. If it’s some super deep page way down on the Scientific Americans website, wow. PA may only be a 35 or a 40 or something, but the domain authority is going to be like an 88 or 90. I’m looking for those links. I’d encourage you to do the same thing.
 
You can actually resort in Open Site Explorer by DA. There’s a little arrow there. You can resort your links if you want. You can also export. There’s an export to Excel function. You can get the top 10,000 links. Then you can sort however you want inside Excel.
 
The last thing I’m going to talk about is do be cautious. A lot of people will go right up to here and they’ll use the filter that lets you exclude no-followed links. I wouldn’t be too worried about that. Some of the time, maybe you only want to care about the followed links. A lot of the time, what we’ve seen is that no-followed links present link opportunities of their own. They’re often social opportunities, opportunities in social media or on social sites for social profiles. Some of them are engagement and interaction stuff, like blog comments, forum participation. Those can actually be great places to do inbound marketing, get people aware, pay attention to the community, get opportunities for content, get opportunities to interact, and that will lead to good SEO things in the future.
 
Hopefully, you’ve got some good competitive link analysis tips out of this. We look forward to seeing you again for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by SpeechPad.com

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