From Mass Communication to Genuine Connections: The End of Marketing as We Know It

end of marketing carlos gil

When you hear the word “marketing,” what comes to mind? Perhaps you think of brands promoting their latest product on social media, or ads that pop up when you Google something. This is how most people define marketing: blatant tactics by established brands to sway you into buying their product.

Now think about your most recent purchase: perhaps it was a latte, a pair of sunglasses, or a flight ticket. Did you consider that marketing was behind your decision to make those purchases?

Carlos Gil in his groundbreaking book The End of Marketing: Humanizing Your Brand in the Age of Social Media and AI illustrates that the marketing that actually influences us to pull out our credit card is often unseen. He points out that the old form of marketing, or one-way, mass communication, is dead. What’s replaced it is a democratized way of consuming media, where everyone with an iPhone and an Instagram is an influencer. 

Just open your preferred social media feed and notice which content you automatically scroll past, and which content makes you stop, like, and engage. More likely than not, you scroll right past brands’ sponsored posts and promotional content, and engage with real humans that you know in person or not. 

Whether we realize it or not, social media content is influencing our consumption behaviors. A friend’s photos from their recent trip to Greece has us planning our next Instagrammable getaway; a fitness influencer’s workout video makes us look into their latest meal-prep book. Why does this work? Because, as Gil emphasizes, “people don’t buy from logos, they buy from people. People trust people.” 

Gil points out that oftentimes, marketers and brands are perplexed as to why their social media efforts aren’t producing results. They post consistently, have a healthy follower account, and yet their content doesn’t get any real engagement or results. He equates this type of marketing to a digital ocean: brands stranded on an island sending out SOS (“same old stuff”) signals, hoping a follower will take notice. 

The reality is, brands need to truly talk to their followers as humans in order to get noticed. Humans “all feel the need to be acknowledged, wanted and loved. As such, brands need to do a better job making customers feel valued.” 

How does Gil suggest brands do this?

Step 1: Know where your target customer is

Start by figuring out who your target audience is and what channels they’re on. If you’re a B2B, your focus should be on LinkedIn and Facebook, not Snapchat and Instagram. 

Step 2: Listen and offer help

Next, pay attention to the conversations that are happening on those networks, and swoop in to help. Each time a brand truly listens to a customer’s issue, they’re more likely to add one more advocate to their team of influencers.  

You don’t need Kanye West advocating for your brand to make waves in the digital ocean. Each “super fan,” past customer, and employee has influence within their circles that you can tap into. When you convert them into a brand advocate, they have the potential to expand your reach way further than a boosted Facebook post. 

Step 3: Form a genuine connection with your influencers

Once you identify these brand advocates, Gil advises that you should find ways every day to form relationships with them. Create “value-tainment” content (advice that your audience will find valuable and engaging), and DM your engaged followers to continue the conversation. This one-on-one, human-centered marketing is “all part of the game of standing out in a noisy digital ocean. You either sink or swim.” 

These nuggets are just a glimpse into the valuable information that Gil includes in The End of Marketing. Not only is the content extremely insightful and applicable to any marketing strategy, but Gil also illustrates it all in an engaging, no-nonsense tone of voice. 

I’m honored to be able to call Carlos a friend, and can vouch that he walks what he talks. Not only is he genuine in real life, but his personal brand also reflects his sincerity. As Brian Solis mentions in the forward, he’s “always admired Carlos’s drive and ‘real talk’ approach to digital engagement.” Gil’s writing style reflects the message he drives home in his book; that being human will give you more returns than treating your audience like robots.

While I’ve enjoyed Carlos’ friendship for over 6 years now, the Alphametic team was able to meet him for the first time recently when he stopped into the office. He was generous with his time and advice, sharing his story with us and signing our copy of The End of Marketing. Anyone who meets Carlos, sees him speak, or reads his work can see that he’s clearly a thought leader in the industry. I look forward to seeing what his next project will be.

Carlos Gil with Alphametic team

The Ultimate List of the Best Free (or Cheap) Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

 

best marketing tools for small businesses

Long gone are the days when you need to be a big company with lots of resources to run effective marketing campaigns. Nowadays, there is a wealth of free and/or cheap digital marketing tools that you can use to build a winning marketing strategy. 

When I go to speak at conferences, I’m often approached by entrepreneurs who ask which digital marketing tools I recommend that they use. Due to popular demand, I decided to create a complete list of free and cheap digital marketing tools for small business owners. These are tools that I myself have used, and are perfect for entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to create strong marketing campaigns on a budget:

WordPress

WordPress is a powerful content management system that powers over 34% of all websites. The website builder makes it possible for ordinary folks without programming skills to build robust websites. And the best part? It’s free! You just need to purchase a domain name and web hosting to install it, but you can also use a wordpress domain for free until you purchase a domain. Choose from thousands of free themes and plugins to customize and manage your site. 

I recommend WordPress because of its flexibility and ease of use. However, there are several other website builders that will also let you build beautiful websites. The first one is Wix, which has drag-and-drop features that make it easy to use. Squarespace and Weebly also feature intuitive design and beautiful templates. While these builders tend to be easier to set up, their relative lack of customizability may cause trouble down the road, which is why I recommend WordPress.

Hootsuite

A consistent social media strategy will help you get new followers and keep your existing followers engaged. Instead of manually posting everything, social media scheduling tools allow you to draft, schedule and publish posts to all your accounts, all with one tool! 

The leading social media scheduling tools are Hootsuite and Buffer. They each have a free version; Buffer allows up to 3 accounts and up to 100 scheduled posts on their free plan, and Hootsuite allows up to 3 accounts and 30 scheduled posts. If you want to add more accounts or reach the publish limit, you can bump up to one of their paid plans. But if you’re just starting out, using a free account to post to your main social platforms will be enough to jump-start your social media presence.

Canva

You no longer need to be a graphic designer to create beautiful images. Canva is free graphic design tool that you can use to create social media graphics, logos, flyers and more. The platform is extremely intuitive and easy to use, and has pre-made templates that you can take and make your own. People retain 55% more information when it’s paired with a relevant image than when it’s without visuals. Using Canva to create eye-catching visuals is a great way to stay in your audience’s mind. 

Unsplash

You used to have to pay iStock or Shutterstock to get high-quality, royalty free images. Now, there are several websites where you can find beautiful copyright free photos for free. 

One of my favorites to use is Unsplash. Simply search for the type of photo you’re looking for, for example “people laughing,” and the search engine will pull up dozens of professional, photographer-submitted photos that you can download. Unsplash also gives you the option to create “collections” for your photos, so you can categorize them and find them later. 

A couple other photo libraries are Pexels and Pixabay. Pixabay is unique in that it offers photos as well as illustrations. I use all three photo libraries, since each one has their own unique collection of photos.

Fiverr 

Do you ever need to hire a freelancer for a quick project such as logo creation or video editing? Fiverr is the best outsourcing platform out there for short-term projects, or “gigs,” that need specialized expertise. 

Fiverr has freelancers that can help you with anything from data entry to website development. You can either post a request for the project that you want sellers to apply for, or browse sellers and their past work and message them directly. 

Rates on Fiverr tend to be inexpensive (some jobs start at $5), since there are so many freelancers on there competing for gigs. 

Fiverr is more designed for freelancers who are looking for short-term projects. If you’re looking for a freelancer to work with on a long-term basis, Upwork may be a better platform for you. On Upwork, you post a job that you need help with, and wait for freelancers to bid on the work. You’ll likely pay more on Upwork than on Fiverr, since the platform rates freelancers on skill level and past job success and so attracts freelancers looking for more steady and long-term work. 

Google Ads 

While a strong SEO strategy can bring you substantial visibility through higher rankings, you’ll want to supplement your organic traffic with paid traffic. Running pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google Ads is one of the fastest and most effective ways to rank for your most important keywords.

You don’t need to spend $50 or even $5 a day to see results from Google Ads. There is no minimum daily budget for Google Ads, and you can pause your ads at any time to stop spending money. Depending on your SEM team’s PPC strategy and testing, you can run a profitable Google Ads campaign on a relatively shoestring budget.

Facebook Ads

It used to be easy to get lots of exposure and engagement by posting on Facebook and Instagram for free. Nowadays, however, both social media platforms have become largely pay-to-play. 

That doesn’t mean you need to spend beaucoup bucks to reach your target audience on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook’s advanced targeting features means you can hone in on your specific audience, only allocating your budget to get their attention. Facebook Ads are connected to Instagram Ads, so you can run both in a single campaign.

Whether you’re in the early stages of your business, or just want to bootstrap your marketing efforts, using these cheap and free digital marketing tools can help you get more visibility and awareness while staying under budget. 

Once you’re ready to scale your business, you can look into more advanced paid tools or consider working with a digital marketing agency to handle it for you. 

Marketing agencies tend to use the same tools for multiple clients, meaning you can take advantage of their economies of scale to handle your marketing campaigns while you focus on other aspects of your business. 

 

We’ve helped major brands achieve major goals delivering results in some of the most competitive industries. Contact us today to get actionable ideas on how to take your online business performance from where you are to where you want to be!

Google June 2019 Core and Diversity Update: Everything You Need to Know

google june core diversity update

 

Anyone who works in search engine optimization knows that Google algorithm updates can have a big effect on page rankings. Algorithm changes happen on a daily basis to improve user search experiences, but once in a while there’s a larger “core” update. Rather than focusing on improving one aspect of search, such as backlinks or local spam, core updates consist of a change to the hundreds of ranking factors that make up Google’s main search algorithm. 

What’s so special about the June 2019 Core Update?

Core updates usually occur out of the blue, and are later given names by SEO’s (e.g. Florida 2 Update in March of this year). However, the most recent Google Core Update in June was unprecedented in that Google pre-announced the update, rather than website managers finding out about the update by seeing their rankings changed drastically. Not only was the update pre-announced, but it was also pre-named: “June 2019 Core Update”. The update was announced by Google SearchLiaison on Twitter a day before the update was to roll out:

The unprecedented pre-announcement ushered in speculation from SEOs about the significance of the update. Danny Sullivan, the public face of Google Search, explained on Twitter that the core update isn’t radically different from previous updates. Rather, the purpose of pre-announcing the update was to let people know in advance, instead of finding out after the roll-out and asking a bunch of questions about it.


Google SearchLiaison announced on June 3 that the update began rolling out:


The update finished rolling out on June 8. Knowing the beginning and end of any update is important in order to give meaning to changes in traffic.

What were the effects of the Google June 2019 Core Update?

The effects of the Google June Core Update began trickling in as the roll-out took place.


As with any Core Update, the effects were clear but the reasoning behind the effects were less so.

Some news sites take a big hit
Several news providers experienced a significant drop in rankings after the Core Update. The British news site DailyMail reporting a 50% drop in traffic. Another news site that took a hit was the cryptocurrency news site CCN, which announced it was shutting down after a 71% drop in mobile traffic and an over 90% drop in daily revenue following the core update.

Increase in Video Carousel results
The June 2019 Update didn’t just affect search traffic. There were reports that the update caused changes to the layout of the SERPs, with more video carousels appearing on desktop searches. This follows a trend the overall trend of video results ranking higher than text-based results on SERPs.

What’s an SEO to do?

An SEO’s job is to implement strategies to rank higher in search results, without compromising the user’s search experience. If your site was affected by the June 2019 Core Update or Diversity Update, it means RankBrain interpreted that your site wasn’t optimized for the user.

In a recent Google Webmaster Hangouts, a webmaster asked Google’s John Mueller a question regarding the drop in traffic on their site.

john mueller google hangout

Mueller responded that there are no explicit changes you can make to try to recover your rankings. Rather, he recommended reading an old blog post on the Webmaster Central Blog to get insights on building a high-quality site. The article gives guidelines for achieving high expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) on your website, creating high-quality, original, factual, and useful content.

What was the Google Diversity Update?

In the middle of the Core Update rollout, another change, the Google Diversity Update, was announced:

As stated in the official Google SearchLiaison tweet, the Diversity algorithm change will prevent more than two listings from the same domain on the first search results page. The purpose of this update is to show a more diverse range of results to any given query, to prevent one site from dominating the SERP. 

In certain cases, Google reserves the right to show more than two results from the same site when it’s relevant. For instance, branded queries will likely show more than two results from the same domain. 

The Google Diversity update started and ended in the midst of the Core update (June 4 to June 6). 

What was the effect of the Google Diversity Update?

Despite the hype, the impact of the Google Diversity Update was fairly minimal. Moz released a report analyzing average diversity across page-one SERPs using a dataset of 10,000 keywords. The report found very little change in SERP diversity over the course of thirty days. However, average diversity did improve marginally, from 90.23 to 90.72 percent, between June 6th and 7th (the last day and after the update rolled out). 

What’s an SEO to do?

Since the Diversity Update limits the number of times your domain appears on the SERP, you have to make sure that your content is distributed across different platforms and mediums. This can mean knowledge graphs, press mentions, YouTube, Wikipedia, and social media links. If your content can be found across multiple websites, then you won’t have to worry about site diversity algorithms not showing your content.

If you stick by Google’s quality guidelines, you won’t have to live in fear of a Google algorithm update tanking your traffic. Your website should be constantly maintained and improved for the user experience. If you follow by Google’s quality standards, you will be rewarded in rankings and traffic.

 

Interested in learning more about SEO strategies? Read our recently updated Google FAQ Vs. Q&A Schema Markup article to learn how to markup your FAQ section!

Marketer’s Guide to Google Assistant: How to Leverage Google’s AI

google assistant for marketers

AI products seem to be everywhere these days, and tech giants are investing heavily in creating and improving them. Google is no exception, with their unveiling of Google Assistant back in 2016. Since then, Google has come out with updates for their virtual assistant that have big implications for the digital marketing world.

We’ve already explored how digital marketers like ourselves should navigate the advent of voice search. Now we want to dive into how voice-powered virtual assistants, specifically Google Assistant, are changing the marketing game.

How will Google’s AI affect how users consume information, what effect has it already had for brands, and what can we do to leverage its marketing capabilities? We explore all of that and more here.

First thing’s first: what is Google Assistant?

Assistant is Google’s virtual assistant, or Google’s version of Siri, Cortana, or Alexa. Powered by voice or type search, Google Assistant can perform a wide range of tasks, including:

  • Find information online, from restaurant bookings to weather and news
  • Open apps
  • Access information from your calendars
  • Play music
  • Control smart home devices

The benefit of using Google Assistant, as with other virtual assistants, is that users can execute a wide range of tasks via voice command. By enabling a hands-free experience, the Assistant offers users with a more frictionless way to complete their day-to-day tasks, from reading out a recipe while you’re elbow-deep in chicken to finding the cheapest gas station on your way to work.

Users can enable Google Assistant on an eligible Android, by simply touching and holding the home button. For iOS devices, the Google Assistant app can be downloaded from the App store.

Engaging visuals

What differentiates Google Assistant from the other virtual assistants is its recent visual redesign. The discover button offers suggested commands such as “Play ‘Billie Jean’” and “Translate ‘Good evening’,” alongside colorful icons, offering users with ideas for what to ask the Assistant to do. The homepage displays a curated summary of the user’s day, including the weather, traffic in your most-traveled routes, and any upcoming calendar events – much like a real personal assistant would.

The makeover also includes new tools for brands to extend the functionality of Actions through pre-loaded visual content. For example, brands can respond to user inputs with photos and videos, or supplement answers with gifs.  

Brands can leverage the Assistant’s “rich responses” feature by creating visual content that not only answers the user’s question but also engages them in the process. If you’re a makeup company, for example, you can create YouTube tutorials for how to use a specific product. By creating delightful and helpful experiences, brands can build awareness and loyalty that will keep users coming back for more.

stila video google assistant

Streamlined transactions

In addition to its visual updates, Google Assistant also rolled out several features that streamline the user experience when interacting with 3rd-party fulfillment services. One of these features is Account linking with Google Sign-In, which allows users to sign into or create a new account with a third-party brand directly in the Assistant app while engaging in a brand action.

An example of a company taking advantage of this integration is Starbucks. Users can interact with the Assistant directly to link to their pre-existing Starbucks Rewards™ account, re-order a previous order, choose from menu items and pick up in store. According to TechCrunch, Starbucks doubled it’s conversion rate thanks to the Sign-In for Assistant feature.

google assistant starbucks order

Users can not only connect their accounts through the Assistant but also subscribe to services directly on the app. A company that takes advantage of subscription integration is Headspace. Users can choose from the meditation app’s selection of subscription services and pay directly on the Assistant app.

Google Sign-In enables seamless transactions through the Assistant, making it easier for brands to make money. As a marketer, it makes sense to present this feature to your development team, and see if they can create a Google Action that will enable your brand to streamline the payment process with its users.

What’s in store

In addition to its existing capabilities, Google rolled out a series of updates at CES in January:

Foreign language translation: with interpreter mode, the Assistant translates the user’s phrase in real time and reads it aloud.

Hotel booking and airline check-in: users can now check-in to United Airlines flights, and also book a hotel using the Assistant. Hotel bookings work with several hotel chains, including Choice Hotels, AccorHotels, InterContinental Hotels Group, Priceline, Expedia, Mirai, and Travelclick. Google foresees more airlines and hotels being integrated in the future.

Google Maps integration: while voice commands and search were available on Maps since last year, the Google Assistant capabilities have expanded to sending texts and playing music. This offers a more hands-free Maps experience, allowing users to focus on the road while the Assistant handles other tasks.

In addition to Google’s CES updates, there’s an even bigger potential development that looms in the distance. Let’s think about some widely-used technological platforms, such as Amazon, Facebook, and YouTube. What do they have in common? They all started as an ad-free experience, and have since begun offering paid advertising options. It’s only a matter of time before voice-powered virtual assistants start including sponsored ads in search results.

Recently, one user reported to Barry Schwartz that his Google Assistant voice query was met with a search ad result. Although it seems like it was a glitch, Google ominously stated: “we’re always testing new ways to improve the experience on phones, but we don’t have anything specific to announce right now.”

If voice assistants begin allowing sponsored ads, it would broaden the paid search playing field for product and service providers, following in the footsteps of other tech platforms.

Will sponsored ads deter users from Google Assistant? Seeing as Amazon, Facebook, and YouTube have 310 million, 2.32 billion, and 1.3 billion users respectively, I think it’s safe to conclude that ads don’t stop users from going on their favorite platforms. With Google Assistant’s overall usability and fun interface, along with its ever-expanding functionalities, means it is poised to become the virtual assistant of choice among Android and iOS users alike. And with 50% of searches projected to be voice-initiated by 2020, Google Assistant is something we’ll be keeping our eye on as we continue to develop our marketing strategies.

This article was written in collaboration with Mia Ballan.

Google Lens: What Marketers Need to Know

Mia BallanMia has 3 years of copywriting experience, working in a variety of industries including media, finance, education and transportation. At Alphametic, Mia focuses on building SEO-driven content to help drive traffic and promote awareness. Originally from New Jersey, she graduated from Boston University with a double major in Economics and Sociology.

Google FAQ Vs. Q&A Schema Markup Explained

Google FAQ vs. Q&A Schema

Update: July 15, 2019

Google added this testing tool to validate FAQ schema, which is now no longer “pending” and available for use.

Per Google’s Developers’ site, “A Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page contains a list of questions and answers pertaining to a particular topic. Properly marked up FAQ pages may be eligible to have a rich result on Search and Markup Action for the Google Assistant, which can help your site reach the right users.”

In other words, the FAQ’s can show up in the SERPs. Here’s an example:

faq schema sem services

In the above example, the website, description, and a few questions and answers appear together. There are certain recommended guidelines from Google to increase the odds of your FAQ page ranking.

Once again, only use FAQPage markup if your page has a list of questions with answers. Some examples include:

  1. An FAQ page written by your site, which doesn’t have the ability for users to submit answers.
  2. A product support page that lists FAQs, again without the ability for users to submit answers

This website is a good option if you need a JSON-LD schema markup generator (choose FAQ page from the dropdown).

February 1, 2019

Google recently published new content guidelines for Q&A page schema markup to clarify that the markup is for pages where the “….focus of the page is a single question and its answers” rather than a page with multiple questions and answers, like an FAQ page.” As a result, it has left digital marketers with some questions.

Google Content Guidelines QA Page

Google has confirmed that it has been testing a new form of search results snippets for several months, which affects the manner in which search results appear to users. These new search snippets are in the form of FAQs and Q&A, as well as How-Tos. But you can read the full content guidelines here.

QAPage

From Google Developers:

Q&A Pages are web pages that contain data in a question and answer format, which is one question followed by zero or more answers to the question. For content that represents a question and its answers, you can mark up your data with the schema.org QAPage, Question, and Answer types.

Properly marked up pages are eligible to have a rich result displayed on the search results page. This rich treatment helps your site reach the right users on Search.

Google Search uses the properties of the QAPage as described below.

QAPage markup

Question

The Question type defines the question that this page answers, and includes the answers, if any, to that question. Exactly one Question type is expected on the page, nested under the mainEntity property of the schema.org/QAPage. There should only be one Question type definition per page.

The full definition of Question is provided on schema.org.

Question Markup

Answer

The Answer type defines the suggested and accepted answers to the Question on this page. Define Answers inside the Question, as values for the suggestedAnswer and acceptedAnswer properties.

The properties of the Answer type used within a question is shown in the table below.

The full definition of Answer is provided on schema.org.

Answer QA Markup

Official Statement from Google

This is a screenshot from a recent Google event in Singapore:

 Google FAQ QA SERPS

Statement via a Google Spokesperson to Search Engine Land:

“We’re always looking for new ways to provide the most relevant, useful results for our users. We’ve recently introduced new ways to help users understand whether responses on a given Q&A or forum site could have the best answer for their question. By bringing a preview of these answers onto Search, we’re helping our users more quickly identify which source is most likely to have the information they’re looking for. We’re currently working with partners to experiment with ways to surface similar previews for FAQ and How-to content.”

This new snippet feature creates a preview of what the searcher can expect to see on a webpage prior to visiting the page. Schema markup should allow SEO’s and web developers the ability to have their website be eligible for this feature.

Google is planning to open an interest form to allow publishers and webmasters to participate in the FAQ and How-to schema markup formats shown in the above screenshot.

What the Experts are Saying

SEO’s and digital marketers alike are actively tweeting on the subject. Barry Schwartz of SEORountable had this to say along with an article with more info:

John Mueller chimed in on Twitter as well explaining that QAPage markup can’t be used for FAQ content which is an important distinction:

How You Can Get Started

You can review the Schema.org website, and find a lot of this markup available already, including HowTo markupQA page markup, and FAQ markup. But Google hasn’t fully rolled out this feature yet. You will also want to check out this great, free tool provided by Google to test your structured data.

Top 10 SEO Gurus to Follow on Twitter

op-10-seo-gurus

Everyone has a mentor, no matter what state in your career you are in. Perhaps you’re a new startup owner that needs some internet marketing help, perhaps you’re a blossoming SEO analyst, or maybe you’re an SEO expert that’s been around the block…

Either way, it’s good to check out what others in the industry are saying about Local, Link-Building, Content marketing, PPC, and all the other disciplines across SEO. Alphametic has curated a list of Top 10 SEO Gurus for 2018 that will ensure you’re always up to date.

1. Barry Schwartzbarry schwartz twitter

 

When it comes to essential reading, anything written by this guru is a must. Barry Schwartz is the CEO of RustyBrick, a web service firm. He is also the executive editor of Search Engine Roundtable, an advanced SEO forum for all the search geeks out there. He’s always on top of the latest Google news and can be seen posting on twitter regularly about different algorithm updates or sharing some of the seemingly hundreds of articles he posts every day.

 

URL: RustyBrick

Twitter: @rustybrick

Recent Post: Google Search Algorithm Shifts Around September 19th?

 

2. Bill Slawksi

bill slawski twitter

Bill has been in the business since 1996. He’s truly a veteran of the space and has been writing about SEO for decades. He is the founder of SEO By the Sea, as well as an administrator of Cre8asite Forums, one of the best forums about internet marketing and search engine marketing. He regularly contributes articles to Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land as an expert.

 

URL: SEO by the Sea

Twitter: @bill_slawski

Recent Post: Quality Scores for Queries: Structured Data, Synthetic Queries and Augmentation Queries

 

3. Julie Joyce

julie joyce twitter

If you need some help building links, Julie’s your go-to. Julie Joyce is the Founder of Link Fish, a link-building agency based out of North Carolina. She has been working in SEO since 2002 and is a co-founder of the SEO Chicks blog. Nowadays she’s a monthly columnist at Search Engine Land and Director of Operations at Link Fish Media.

 

URL: Link Fish Media

Twitter: @JulieJoyce

Recent Post: Why isn’t my fabulous content attracting quality links?

 

 

4. Mike Blumenthal

mike blumenthal twitter

“All local, all the time. What else is there?” Mike Blumenthal is all about Local SEO. He is a leading industry-expert in this space and is the Chief Review Officer of  Gather Up, a business review site he founded with Don Campbell & Thomas Hasch. He runs the “Understanding Google Maps & Local Search” blog and is constantly shedding new light into the Local SEO world. He has over 30 years working with computers and in the internet space.  

 

URL: Gather Up

Twitter: @mblumenthal

Recent Post: What Percentage Of Verified Businesses Use Google Posts?

 

 

5. Neil Patel

neil patel twitter

No guru list would be complete without Neil Patel. With a blog that generates over 2 million users per month, it’s not hard to see why. He is a leading industry-expert in everything digital marketing. SEO, content, PPC, social and more. He is the Co-founder of KISSmetrics, Quicksprout, Crazy Egg and Neil Patel Digital.

 

URL: NeilPatel.com

Twitter: @neilpatel

Recent Post: The Secret Behind My 1,866,913 Monthly Search Visitors (It’s Not What You Think)

 

 

6. Tim Soulo

tim soulo twitter

Tim Soulo is the head of marketing and product strategy at Ahrefs, you know, that tool every single SEO uses? He consistently publishes research studies on the Ahrefs blog about keyword research, backlinking, and other studies with titles like “What we learned about’Long Tail’ by analyzing 1.4 billion keywords”. He speaks at SEO conferences, podcasts and runs the Ahrefs Youtube channel.

 

URL: Ahrefs.com/tim

Twitter: @timsoulo

Recent Post: How Many New Backlinks Do Top‐ranking Pages Get Over Time [New Data by Ahrefs]

 

 

7. Brian Dean

brian dean twitter

As is evidenced by his company name, Backlinko, Brian Dean is an SEO-driven backlink guru. He’s become known for publishing high-quality blog content that is incredibly well-researched, data-driven and practical.  He’s worked with companies such as Disney, IBM, Amazon and more, as well as multiple founded many online sites.

 

URL: Backlinko

Twitter: @Backlinko

Recent Post: The Ultimate SEO Audit [Works GREAT in 2018]

 

8. Aleyda Solis

aleyda solis twitter

Aleyda has positioned herself in the vital space of International SEO. Aleyda Solis recently won the 2018 European Search Personality of the Year award and has been featured in the Huffington Post, as well as the Google Partner’s Podcast. She consistently puts out blog content and speaks at conferences all around the world sharing her experience and expert advice on global search marketing.

 

URL:  Aleyda Solis

Twitter: @aleyda

Recent Post: Avoiding Hreflang Issues by Following a 6 Steps Implementation Process

 

9. Dr. Pete Myers

dr pete twitter

Moz in itself is an authority on SEO, but Dr. Pete Myers brings the data to the table. He’s got a PH.D in Cognitive Psychology, so he knows his way around statistics. He is regularly publishing research studies with topics like: “New Research: 35% of Competitive Local Keywords Have Local Pack Ads” and the like. If you want a data-driven perspective to a new Google algorithm or a recommendation based on quantitative studies – he’s your guy.

 

URL: Dr. Pete

Twitter: @dr_pete

Recent Post: NEW On-Demand Crawl: Quick Insights for Sales, Prospecting, & Competitive Analysis

 

10. Jim Boykin

jim boykin twitter

Good old Jim – he’s been around since 1999 spreading his internet marketing knowledge. He is the founder and CEO of Internet Marketing Ninjas based in New York. He’s been featured in Forbes, the Examiner and has been recognized as a Top 40 Leader Under 40 by the Business Review. He specializes in Link Building, SEO, Blogging, Social Media Marketing and pretty much every other internet marketing specialization.

 

URL: Internet Marketing Ninjas

Twitter: @jimboykin

Recent Post: The Google Featured Snippet Optimization Tool by Ninjas.

 

11. (BONUS): Matthew Capala 😉

matthew capala twitter

We didn’t include Matt in the original top 10 list because he’s the CEO of Alphametic, but he’s definitely a person to follow for updates on the going on’s in the SEO world. He has been in the industry for over 12 years, written an SEO guidebook called “SEO Like I’m 5” and taught digital marketing at NYU. He’s a regular speaker at SEO & digital marketing conferences and offers SEO training courses for small and large businesses.

 

URL: Alphametic

Twitter: @searchdecoder

Recent Post: State of Search for 2019 According to Google’s Gary Illyes

 

That’s all folks! This list is by no means complete, there are many SEO experts out there that are putting out great content, but we wanted to keep this list to 10 gurus to start building your resource list. 

Alphametic has created a Twitter list called “Top SEO Gurus” which includes all these influencers. Follow @alphametic and subscribe to this list to get a curated feed of the best SEO content out there. If you have any suggestions for SEO gurus to add, tweet us your pick! 

For more curated lists, check out our 8 Digital Marketing Books to Read in 2018.

State of Search for 2019 According to Google’s Gary Illyes

State of Search

It’s not every day that Gary Illyes comes to your backyard.

For those of you who don’t know who Gary Illyes is, you can scour through pages of Twitter debates, blog articles and speaker event announcements to see that he has been an important resource to SEO’s everywhere for years.

In fact, Barry Schwartz gives updates on Search Engine Watch every once in a while that feature Gary:

 

Just last week, he gave a “ State of Search “ presentation through the South Florida Interactive Marketing Association, where he gave a high-level overview of what the SEO landscape will look like in 2019. If you want to validate your current strategies, or are looking for some info, read on ahead:

Good URL’s are Critical

This may seem like a no-brainer, but bad URL structure has actually been trending UP in recent years at Google. Proper URL structures not only inform search engines what your page is about, but it helps click-throughs indirectly by informing the user what value they’ll get from your page. Specifically, Gary called out not to use the paralx (#) URLs (unless they are meant for “scrolling”) instead of creating unique URLs.

Here’s a good example of a URL:  https://alphametic.com/seo-services

Here’s a bad example: https://alphametic.com/#seo-1234567

Canonicalization

Yes, canonicalize. Here’s a definition from Moz:

“A canonical tag (aka “rel canonical”) is a way of telling search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. Using the canonical tag prevents problems caused by identical or “duplicate” content appearing on multiple URLs. Practically speaking, the canonical tag tells search engines which version of a URL you want to appear in search results.”

This is not only useful for avoiding duplicate content, but it’s just plain old useful. It effectively organizes your site pages and allows you to present Google with a neatly thought out binder with dividers-galore, versus a bulky, disorganized mess of un-related papers (or site pages) that are crammed into a binder titled “My Website”.

HTTPS is a Must

This one has been well-known in the SEO community for a while, but it’s worth repeating. Switching your site to HTTPS is not only on the top of any good SEO practice handbook – it’s also good for the user.

HTTPS increases security by encrypting any data passed between a web server and your browser. Without the encryption, you’re more vulnerable to interception of a third-party system, which can then view your data. This is why Google has not only recommended webmasters switch their sites to HTTPS, but has made it a ranking signal.

Make Internal Linking a Habit

It is very difficult for a page to rank on Google without internal links. Internal links give Google an idea about your website hierarchy, and also allows you to place more value to pages that you want to boost in rankings by linking them within your site in strategic places.

Meta Descriptions Matter (but not so much the characters)

While meta descriptions are not a direct ranking signal, they INDIRECTLY help page ranks by increasing click-throughs to your page from SERPs. The question all SEO’s ask is not whether to utilize meta descriptions – it’s how long they should be.

According to Gary, it doesn’t matter.

(I know, shocking) Google will take parts of your meta description it likes, or it may skip it altogether and grab a snippet from your actual page for the description. Regardless, creating an optimized meta description that is enticing, and relevant will increase the likelihood that your meta description will be used by Google.

Despite Gary’s statement, Moz has a study that shows that the cut off for most meta descriptions across Google cut off between the 145-165 range.

Always Use Page Titles

We already know this is a critical piece of Meta Data, but how often do we ignore this? Many large sites have automated page titles that can be lackluster. While it may not be possible to give every single page a keyword-targeted, strategized, stellar page title, it’s worth it to choose your top pages and carefully plan out their titles.

A good page title will be informative to the user, will include your target keyword, and ALWAYS be relevant to the page itself.

Use Alt Text Within Reason

Gary’s main point in this section of the talk was to always use alt text – within reason. If you’re using it as an opportunity to stuff keywords into the page, then you’re using it out of reason. The purpose of alt text is to describe the contents of an image, so if Google sees a lot of keyword stuffing across your alt text it may raise some red flags.

Use Ads Reasonably

Nobody likes interstitial content. Marketers may like it, but users can live without it. If your pop-up ads are blocking the main content of the page (especially on mobile), Google is going to flag your page.

The reasoning is that it gives a bad user experience. Pro tip: don’t keep your users away from the content they want.

Page Speed, Page Speed, Page Speed!

If you haven’t been optimizing your site speed – you’re probably behind the competition.

This is one of the top 3 ranking factors announced by Google. It’s in your best interest to use tools like Page Speed Insights, or the one Gary recommends, Lighthouse, to increase your site speed.

One of the methods he mentioned was “Lazy Loading”. Here’s a description of lazy loading by Stackpath:

“Instead of bulk loading all of the content when the page is accessed, content can be loaded when the user accesses a part of the page that requires it. With lazy loading, pages are created with placeholder content which is only replaced with actual content when the user needs it.”

Structured Data

Gary spent a LOT of time speaking to this. One of the most overlooked aspects of SEO. Use structured where it makes sense.

To be honest, many of these things are already well-known within the SEO community. But it’s nice to hear it validated by the likes of Gary Illyes. The State of Search in 2018 – and going into 2019 -is all about the user, put out great content, and you’ll get returns.

If you want to read about recent Google updates, check out our SEO Trends 2018 post.

Global Search Engine Market Share for 2018 in the Top 15 GDP Nations

global searche ngine market share infographic

Evaluating your International SEO efforts sometimes involves stepping out of the Google bubble. In this post, we’ll share the percentage of market penetration of individual search engines across the top 15 GDP countries.

 

Our Methodology:

A list of the 15 nations with the largest nominal GDPs in the world (as of 2018) was compiled. StatCounter was then utilized to calculate the percentage of search engine market penetration within those nations. The resulting percentages were rounded to the nearest tenth and the top 5-6 search engines were reported.

 

According to the web analytics service, StatCounter, its tracking code is installed on more than 2 million sites globally. “These sites cover various activities and geographic locations. Every month, we record billions of page views to these sites. For each page view, we analyze the browser/operating system/screen resolution used and we establish if the page view is from a mobile device. For our search engine stats, we analyze every page view referred by a search engine…No artificial weightings are used. We remove bot activity and make a small adjustment to our browser stats for prerendering in Google Chrome. Aside from those adjustments, we publish the data as we record it.” – StatCounter FAQ

 

We chose not to utilize ComScore for this exercise, which uses a different tracking methodology, relying more on user panels. ComScore data shows higher market shares for Bing/Yahoo! in the US.

 

Summary:

Within the United States Google continues to lead the pack, with a 16% increase since 2010. Bing and Yahoo make up the majority of the resulting percentages with a combined approximate 12% of market share. Although, compared to the other nations on this list, Google has a higher penetration in 9 other countries. In China, Google makes up a measly 1.5% of market share with search engine Baidu taking the lion’s share at 70%. In fact, Google places 4th after Shenma, Haosou and Sogou. Yahoo! continues to demonstrate a strong presence in Japan.

 

If Eastern Europe is a strong market for your brand, make sure to pay attention to Yandex, which is the search engine market leader in Russia, although Google has a 45% search market share as the 2nd highest. Nonetheless, with over 90% market share, Google dominates the search engine landscape in most of the top GDP nations in the world, including India, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Italy and Australia.

 

When you’re thinking globally, Google is a great start. But, depending on your market, you might find that you need to pivot your SEO efforts into a different search engine altogether, such as Bing, Baidu, or Yandex, to capture the largest amount of traffic. Use the data below as a reference when determining your next global SEO strategy.

 

1. United States

Google: 87.28%

Bing: 6.91%

Yahoo!: 4.65%

DuckDuckGo: 0.59%

MSN: 0.21%

Other: 0.36%

 

2. China

Baidu: 70.26%%

Shenma: 19%

Haosou: 4.26%

Sogou: 3.71%

Google: 1.47%

Other: 0.98%

 

3. Japan

Google: 70.31%

Yahoo!: 24.03%

Bing: 4.78%

Baidu: 0.58%

DuckDuckGo: 0.1%

Naver: 0.06%

 

4. Germany

Google: 93.31%

Bing: 4.49%

Yahoo!: 1.03%

DuckDuckGo: 0.51%

t-Online: 0.24%

Yandex: 0.14%

 

5. United Kingdom

Google: 89.67%

Bing: 7.24%

Yahoo!: 2.27%

DuckDuckGo: 0.49%

Yandex: 0.09%

MSN: 0.06%

 

6. India

Google: 97.35%

Bing: 1.68%

Yahoo!: 0.91%

DuckDuckGo: 0.04%

Baidu: 0.01%

 

7. France

Google: 91.15%

Bing: 5.07%

Yahoo!: 1.92%

DuckDuckGo: 0.83%

Qwant: 0.56%

Yandex: 0.35%

 

8. Brazil

Google: 96.37%

Bing: 2.02%

Yahoo!: 1.51%

DuckDuckGo: 0.06%

Baidu: 0.02%

Yandex: 0.01%

 

9. Italy

Google: 94.81%

Bing: 3.52%

Yahoo!: 1.17%

DuckDuckGo: 0.15%

Arianna: 0.14%

Yandex: 0.12%

 

10. Canada

Google: 90.85%

Bing: 5.64%

Yahoo!: 2.49%

DuckDuckGo: 0.54%

Yandex: 0.22%

Baidu: 0.13%

 

11. South Korea

Google: 84.41%

Bing: 4.84%

Baidu: 4.84%

Shenma: 2.42%

Yandex: 1.88%

Yahoo!: 0.81%

 

12. Russia

Yandex: 51.08%

Google: 45.27%

Mail.ru: 2.12%

Bing: 0.57%

Yahoo!: 0.48%

Baidu: 0.25%

 

13. Australia

Google: 93.16%

Bing: 5.12%

Yahoo!: 0.6%

Baidu: 0.48%

DuckDuckGo: 0.35%

MSN: 0.11%

 

14. Spain

Google: 95.11%

Bing: 3.4%

Yahoo!: 1.26%

DuckDuckGo: 0.15%

Yandex: 0.02%

Baidu: 0.02%

 

15. Mexico

Google: 95.27%

Bing: 3.23%

Yahoo!: 1.39%

DuckDuckGo: 0.05%

MSN: 0.02%

Ask Jeeves: 0.01%

 

Want more statistics? Check out 18 Eye-Opening SEO Statistics to Prove the Value of Organic Search.

8 Crazy Voice Search Statistics That are Too Crazy to Ignore [Infographic]

voice search statistics infographic

You can find the original blog post here.

 

If you’d like to embed this infographic on your site and share, you can use the embed code below: